Lynx UK Trust remains hopeful of reintroduction after attack

The Lynx UK Trust has said it remains optimistic that plans to reintroduce lynx into the Kielder Forest area will be given the go-ahead.

This comes after a lynx named Lillith escaped from a zoo in Wales and was accused of killing seven sheep.

Steve Piper, consultant for the Lynx UK Trust, told Meat Trades Journal that it was unfair to compare a wild lynx to one brought up restricted by human intervention.

“Whilst it’s still unclear whether it was Lillith or a dog responsible for the sheep deaths, we have always emphasised that captive-raised and human-habituated lynx are not suitable to be released into the wild,” he said.

“Our trial reintroduction proposal involved the trapping and relocation of wild lynx from Sweden, which are successfully surviving in the wild, hunting deer as Eurasian lynx typically do. We would place them in an ideal habitat with extremely high deer density and as such would expect very little conflict with sheep farmers.”

The accused lynx has since been shot dead, and the Lynx UK Trust is alleging that another lynx in the zoo died after it choked to death whilst being moved from one cage to another.

“This is a tragic turn of event for the sheep, the farmer that owns them, and ultimately the two lynx that have now died as a result of incompetence at Borth Zoo; sheep in the UK are probably at more threat from ‘hobby zoo’ escapees than our proposed lynx reintroduction trial,” Piper told Meat Trades Journal.

Following the death of the seven sheep on a Welsh farm, the National Sheep Association (NSA) hit out at the proposed reintroductions, claiming that it would be a hazard to the industry if they were approved. NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “There cannot be a clearer warning of the damage lynx will do if they are released into the wild.”

The Lynx UK Trust is still awaiting a response form Natural England as to whether or not plans to introduce the animals will be given the go-ahead.

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