Tyne & Wear

Eurasian lynx: Kielder Forest return plan submitted

Lynx Image copyright Chris Godfrey
Image caption The lynx would come from Sweden

Plans to return the Eurasian lynx to a Northumberland forest 1,300 years after it became extinct in the UK have been submitted to Natural England.

The Lynx UK Trust wants to introduce six lynx to Kielder Forest on a five-year trial period to be monitored by satellite collars.

The plan is opposed by some residents and sheep farmers who fear the animals would attack livestock.

Natural England will now decide on the plan.

Dr Paul O'Donoghue, the project's chief scientific adviser, said the scheme "marks a significant milestone in the history of UK conservation; potentially the first return of an extinct predator, which could prove to be a really keystone species for our ecosystem".

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Media captionThe last lynx in Britain was killed for its fur more than a thousand years ago.

He said: "We've now reached a point where we feel every piece of research has been done, every concern that can be raised has been raised, and the only way to move truly forward is with an intensively monitored trial reintroduction of a small number of cats."

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, previously told the BBC said there were several hundred sheep farmers around Kielder, any one of whom could be affected by the lynx.

He said the area was not suitable for lynx and one sheep being attacked could cause major stress and possible damage to the rest of the flock.

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