Is it time to bring back the lynx?

A piece of university research is investigating the viability of reintroducing wild lynx to the Highlands and Forest of Dean

Illustration photo of Is it time to bring back the lynx?

A student at Imperial College London is seeking hillwalkers' views on reintroducing wild lynx to parts of the UK, to explore whether this might one day be feasible.

Jamie Wyver, who is currently studying towards an MSc in Conservation Science, is exploring attitudes towards bringing back the carnivorous animal, once native to the British Isles. He is speaking to those who would be most affected, including farmers, gamekeepers, hillwalkers and the general public who enjoying walking in the countryside.

His project focuses on the Scottish Highlands and the Forest of Dean, two areas where a reintroduction may be theoretically possible.

Returning animals to their former ranges is now often discussed in connection with 'rewilding'. In theory, bringing back a carnivore can restore a natural food chain and re-balance an ecosystem, but local people are often understandably wary. 

Jamie Wyver says: "Conservation isn't about fencing off areas and keeping people out. It's about working with people. When we're discussing wildlife reintroductions it is vital to talk to those who may be directly affected by the return of certain animals. In this case I'm keen to hear from farmers, gamekeepers, landowners and others who live and work in the countryside."

Jamie is comparing views of people in Scottish Highlands with those of people in the Forest of Dean. If you live and work in those areas and would like to take part in this research, complete the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N5N5PBX