Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

Eurasian lynx creeps closer to UK release

Eurasian lynx creeps closer to UK release Chris Godfrey
17 Jun
The UK’s last wild lynx disappeared around 700AD. They could return in a trial introduction in 2017

It has dusky fur to keep it hidden in the trees, sharp claws to keep it high in the branches and a rumbling growl that could raise the hairs on the back of your neck. It could stalk you for miles if it wanted and – when it pounces – its strong jaws could bring down an adult deer. The idea of bringing Eurasian lynxes back in the wild is a provocative one to say the least.

‘But they have an exemplary record of extremely low livestock predation,’ says a spokesperson for campaign group Lynx UK Trust, ‘and no recorded incidents of attacks on humans by any healthy wild lynx in all of recorded history.’

This week, Lynx UK Trust headed talks discussing the details of a Eurasian lynx reintroduction scheme. 20 stakeholder groups, including landowners, farmers and conservationists, came together for what the Trust described as an historic meeting. Ian Convery, Associate Professor of Conservation at the University of Cumbria and consultation advisor for the Trust says, ‘it is the first time a large number of stakeholders have come together to discuss an actual reintroduction of this wild cat to the UK, with a trial that would be extensively monitored by scientists.’

A proposed site for a pilot release of ten individuals is hoped to be revealed next month, with forests shortlisted in Aberdeenshire and Northumberland. ‘That’s when it gets really exciting,’ says Dr Paul O’Donoghue, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Trust. ‘We will get to talk with the people who would actually be living alongside these amazing animals.’

The Eurasian lynx’s preferred diet of roe deer makes it the ideal species for the rewilding movement, which vies for the reintroduction of apex predators in order to control herbivore populations and reinvigorate ecosystems. At about the size of a labrador, the Eurasian lynx is ambitious when it comes to hunting. It can tackle an animal many times its own size and is the only lynx species that eats more deer than it does rodents or rabbits. However, the same characteristics bring strong opposition from farming unions who understandably fear for the loss to their livestock.

Scottish Crofting Federation chair, Fiona Mandeville, has said ‘the most threatened species in the Highlands is the hill sheep and any threat to their viability must be resisted.’

According to the Trust, consultation and dialogue will continue with concerned stakeholder groups throughout the summer.

Related items

Julysub 2020

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

geo line break v3

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby




Travel the Unknown

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...


Researchers have revealed just how many polluting microfibres are released…


Increasing reports of seized jaguar fangs and skin suggest that…


Forced isolation has given many of us the chance to…


A fifth of the ocean floor has now been mapped,…


Four ex-circus lions discovered in France are due to be…


A roundup of some of the top discussions from the…


The agave plant, used to make Tequila, has proven itself…


Concerns about the ozone hole have diminished as levels of…


In the Eastern Cape of South Africa, Munu – a…


Photography competition, Earth Photo, returns for the third year with…


A new study reveals the process behind the strange phenomenon…


Hunting is a topic that attracts polarised viewpoints. But as…


A compilation of 50-years worth of data on human activity…


From the US to the Mediterranean, herds of goats are…


Meet the 2020 Whitley Award winners


Protecting the most famous members of the animal kingdom may…