Plan to rein­tro­duce lynx af­ter 1,000

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Countryside -

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

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