Lynx release proposals to be unveiled

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Proposals to reintroduce lynx to the wild will be unveiled next week.

The Scottish Borders and parts of Northumberland were chosen as the preferred site for a project to reintroduce Eurasian lynx into the wild.

The scheme will be discussed during a meeting at Newcastleton Village Hall on November 30.

The Lynx UK Trust, which is behind the project, says that between six to 10 lynx would be introduced to Kielder Forest Park.

While the lynx has been extinct in Britain for 1,300 years, the trust says that their reintroduction would help to drive eco-tourism in the area and control deer populations.

The trust has also says that they are unlikely to pose a risk to sheep in the area.

"Lynx used to be present in the Kielder area," explained Dr Paul O'Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for the Lynx UK Trust.

"So they've got as much right to be there as the red squirrel, for example.

"Kielder is also the perfect place for them - it's an ideal habitat with plenty of space and there's also very little traffic."

The meeting in Newcastleton will allow people living in the area to find out more about the scheme. "It's a chance to find out more about lynx," Dr O'Donoghue added.

"People often think they're a 'big cat' but they're not, the best way to describe them would be like a 'skinny labrador'.

"They're very shy animals and studies in Europe have shown they've never attacked a human."

Dr O'Donoghue said that studies in Europe have shown the number of sheep attacked by the cats equates to 0.4 per lynx per year.

"Their presence will also be a benefit to farmers," he added.

"They'll help to keep the deer population - which cows and sheep are competing for grazing space with - under control."

The meeting at Newcastleton Village Hall is open for anyone to attend, and will take place between 6.30pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday, November 30.

Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 4:22PM
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