Wildlife groups seek views over lynx reintroduction

A lynx and her cubs sitting in the snow
The Missing Lynx Project believes lynx could grow into a healthy population in Northumberland and into bordering parts of southern Scotland [Berndt Fischer]

A new touring exhibition will give people the chance to give their view on the reintroduction of lynx.

It is run by The Missing Lynx Project, a partnership between Northumberland Wildlife Trust, The Lifescape Project and The Wildlife Trusts.

The group believes an area including Northumberland and bordering parts of Scotland could support a population of the solitary wildcats.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust's Mike Pratt said: "We know that Northumbrians love wildlife and this is a chance to find out more about a missing part of it."

A lynx sitting among trees
Two previous bids to reintroduce Lynx to Northumberland did not go ahead [Berndt Fischer]

Lynx were once widespread in the UK but disappeared in medieval times because they were hunted for their fur.

Previous bids by a group called Lynx UK to introduce the cats into Kielder Forest were rejected by the government.

Mr Pratt said this was just the start of a "conversation about reintroduction."

"We want people to come along to the exhibition and to find out if people like the idea of lynx being reintroduced and whether they would back a proposal," he said.

"We've lost so much wildlife, and the jigsaw of life is really quite broken, so bringing back species like beaver and lynx could really help restore nature," he added.

Two lynx kittens
Lynx have been successfully reintroduced to a number of other European countries [Ben Birchall/PA Wire]

The lynx has been successfully reintroduced in countries like Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Slovenia.

They mostly eat deer but the National Sheep Association (NSA) has said they would also prey on sheep.

Chief executive Phil Stocker said: "We do want to support biodiversity alongside productive farming but any reintroduction of lynx has welfare implications for sheep and an economic cost for farmers.

"However, we do welcome this group's approach in that they clearly want farmers to be part of the conversation."

The exhibition at venues including Kielder, The Sill and Hexham will be free and tickets can be booked online.

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