It's like a story out of Jurassic Park, conservationists in the UK are trying to bring back a species that has been gone from the British Isles for hundreds of years. The Eurasian lynx was pushed out of much of Western Europe due to loss of habitat and widespread hunting. Now, campaigners are working in consultation with the government and other stakeholders to push for the reintroduction of 10 cats in Kielder Forest in Northumberland - the country's largest forested area.
The idea isn't as farfetched as it sounds. The reintroduction of apex predators to an ecosystem is an important step in righting the balance that has often tilted too far to one side after a species disappears. In the case of the lynx, their absence has let herbivore populations soar which in turn affects plant growth causing a negative domino effect throughout the food chain.
"Rewilding", the process of reintroducing species to their onetime habitat, has been successful in the UK before. The red kite, large blue butterfly, beavers and great bustard have all been reintroduced in recent years and have thrived. What's more Germany has already had success with a lynx rewilding plan, in 2000 a small group of 14 were released into the wild and their population has continued to do well.
As far as safety, there is no need to worry as there has never been an lynx-on-human attack ever recorded. They prefer roe deer and have even been known to keep fox populations in check. Meaning they will even help farmers keep their sheep safe.
This project is what conservation is about. Bringing species back from the brink and helping them prosper so that they can play their intended role in nature and correct the imbalances that have existed since their disappearance. Please sign the petition and ask Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage to bring the lynx back to the UK.