Plan to reintroduce lynx after 1,000
A BID to bring back the lynx, which became extinct in the UK more than 1,000 years ago, has been rejected by the Government, writes Emily Beament.
Lynx UK Trust applied for a licence for a trial reintroduction of six Eurasian lynx – which it says disappeared from Britain around 700AD – into Kielder Forest in Northumberland to recreate a more natural ecosystem.
The cats were lost from much of western Europe in the face of the destruction of their habitat and persecution by humans, but they have been successfully reintroduced in some countries.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has written to the trust informing it he has accepted Government conservation agency Natural England’s advice not to grant a licence for the scheme.
Mr Gove said the Government remained committed to the reintroduction of once-native species when there are “comprehensive proposals” and clear environmental, social and economic benefits.
Natural England had concerns about the feasibility of the project, including how it would be funded and a reliance on volunteers, he said.
The application did not include an ecological assessment providing assurances the area was suita- ble for a reintroduction and did not demonstrate sufficient engagement with landowners or local support.
In his letter, Mr Gove said: “Kielder Forest is an area where the Forestry Commission has been taking action to manage and restore important habitats and ecosystem functions to enhance biodiversity.
“This has included the release of hundreds of water vole and the removal of mink from the Tyne and monitoring the return and spread of pine martens to understand options for their recovery.
“The area has also seen significant recolonisation by a number of