A public consultation is to be held by the Lynx UK Trust into introducing the cats into The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, following an ecological feasibility study and initial community consultation.
Lynx were wiped out in the UK by fur-hunting combined with loss of habitat about 1,300 years ago. The absence of the medium-sized cats has contributed to an over-population of their favourite prey, deer, which are damaging the UK’s native forest ecosystem, causing problems all the way down the food chain.
It is expected that the Scottish countryside could host up to 250 lynx in total.
The trust says that no attacks on humans have ever been recorded by a healthy, wild Eurasian lynx anywhere in the world.
Dr Paul O’Donoghue, the Director of Lynx UK Trust said: “The Queen Elizabeth Forest park is a lynx paradise, it ticks all the boxes; high deer densities, extensive forest cover, extremely low human population density and no major roads.”
He added: “It is vital to point out that we hope to develop widespread community support for our plans. This will not be imposed on anyone, rather we see this as an opportunity to build strong networks with partners and stakeholders to deliver what is undoubtedly, the most exciting and large scale conservation project ever proposed in Scotland.”
Successful reintroductions have been staged in countries including Germany, France and Switzerland.
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