Wild cats could be reintroduced into the forests of Britain by the end of 2016 – with lynx roaming free for the first time in 1,300 years.
The Lynx Trust is seeking permission to run a five-year trial after identifying suitable forests in Northumberland, Norfolk, Cumbria, Aberdeenshire and Argyll & Bute.
Two of the sites would be the new homes of three male and three female lynx, and experts believe the project could bring considerable benefits for the UK’s economy and ecology.
Dr. Paul O’Donoghue, who is involved in the trial, believes lynx could potentially save rural communities by generating tens of millions of pounds in revenue through eco-tourism.
He explained: “They promote forest regeneration. In the UK, forests are dying. There’s no regeneration of younger trees coming through because of the massive overpopulation of deer.”
Similar projects have been conducted in the past. In 2009, beavers were re-introduced into Argyll and Tayside.