Wales

Call for landowners to host wild lynx in Wales

European lynx Image copyright Anagramm
Image caption The lynx is a highly elusive animal

A project to reintroduce wild lynx to the UK could see them return to Wales after a 1,300 year gap if the right site can be found.

The Lynx UK Trust has already announced three sites in England and Scotland, but is looking for landowners in Wales who want to be considered.

They say lynx would help solve the problem of over-population of deer, as there are no natural predators left.

Lynx hunt in forests and there has never been a recorded attack on humans.

Dr Paul O'Donoghue, from the Lynx UK Trust, said the its reintroduction could help promote biodiversity.

"We call it the Yellowstone effect, that when they put wolves back [into the national park in the US], they saw a huge increase in biodiversity.

"We know that lynx will do the same in the UK," he told BBC Wales.

He said there had never been a case of an attack by a lynx on a human, and while conceding it was possible they could attack a sheep, he said the likelihood was very low.

"Lynx don't hunt out on the open. They are highly selective predators," he said.

However he added any sheep deaths would be compensated.

Making a comeback?

Image copyright svehlik

The Eurasian lynx is a medium sized cat found in western Europe, Russia and central Asia. The last British lynx, closely related to the north European lynx, disappeared around 700 AD.

It hunts deer and smaller species such as rabbit and hare and is highly elusive.

Other European countries have successfully reintroduced them have developed wildlife tourism alongside them.

They are solitary apart from during the breeding season.

Adults vary in size from 80-130cm in length and up to 70cm at the shoulder. They can weigh from 10-40kg.

Source: Lynx UK Trust

Image copyright Neville Buck/Lynx UK Trust
Image caption Lynx cubs can expect an average lifespan of 10 years in the wild

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