A conservation student is seeking views on whether lynx should be reintroduced to the Highlands.
Jamie Wyver, who is studying towards an MSc in conservation science at Imperial College London, is exploring attitudes towards bringing back the carnivorous animal, once native to the country. He is speaking to those who would be most affected, including farmers, gamekeepers, hill walkers, and people who enjoying walking in the countryside.
His project focuses on the Scottish Highlands and the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, two areas where a reintroduction might be possible.
In the right conditions, bringing back a carnivore can restore a natural food chain and help to re-balance an ecosystem. But projects involving wildlife that has been absent for hundreds of years needs careful planning and consultation with the people who will be living alongside those animals.
Jamie says: â€œConservation isnâ€™t about fencing off areas and keeping people out. Itâ€™s about working with people. When weâ€™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 Iâ€™m keen to hear from farmers, gamekeepers, landowners and others who live and work in the countryside.â€
Paul De Ornellas, of the Zoological Society of London, Jamieâ€™s project supervisor, says: â€œWe proposed this research project initially because lynx are now making a comeback across Europe. The question is, could this happen in the UK as well?â€
Jamie is comparing views of people in the Highlands with those of people in the Forest of Dean.
If you live and work in the Highlands â€“ or in the Forest of Dean, for that matter â€“ and would like to have your say, complete the online survey at SurveyMonkey