Lynx© Image Broker/Rex

Plans to reintroduce lynx into five UK sites – after an absence of 1,300 years – have been criticised by the National Farmers’ Union as “expensive, with a high risk of failure”.

The Lynx UK Trust wants to begin next year trial reintroductions at sites in Aberdeenshire, Argyll, Cumbria, Norfolk and Northumberland.

It claims the reintroduction would bring in tens of millions of pounds and new jobs in eco-tourism over 25 years.

See also: Lynx to be released into British countryside

The Trust added it had received more than 9,000 responses from the public to an initial survey, with nine out of 10 supporting reintroduction of the animal.

But NFU countryside adviser Claire Robinson said there were real concerns about the impact on farm animals, with lynx preying on poultry, outdoor pigs and lambs. “We believe efforts and finances would be better focused on retaining current biodiversity.”

However, Dr Paul O’Donoghue, Lynx UK Trust chief scientific adviser, told Poultry World that the reintroduction of lynx would benefit poultry farmers as they would target foxes as well as their traditional quarry, roe deer.

“Lynx will actually lead to an increase in poultry numbers – they will be the poultry farmer’s best friend,” he suggested.

A consultation will run until the new year, which will then be followed by local discussions in the proposed trial areas.