Following several sightings of a large cat resembling a lynx in spots around Newton Stewart and Minnigaff recently, the Lynx UK Trust has spoken of national public support for their reintroduction.
Two runners using routes in Old Minnigaff are believed to have spotted unusually large creatures running off into the undergrowth over the last few weeks with one telling The Gazette the sighting momentarily stunned him before he retreated and thought it best not to investigate.
And such sightings could become more common after a public survey carried out last month by the Lynx UK Trust returned a remarkable 91% in favour of a trial reintroduction of lynx to the UK, with 84% believing it should begin within the next 12 months.
With forestry being the prime candidate for the [project, Galloway Forest Park and other national parks across to the Borders could be used.
Almost seven weeks ago the team of international wildlife and conservation experts announced their hopes to carry out a trial reintroduction of Eurasian lynx to the UK.
Wiped out in the UK over 1,300 years ago by fur hunters, lynx have been successfully reintroduced across Europe, and the team hopes that reintroduction here will provide a valuable natural control on the UK’s overpopulated deer species, leading to forest regeneration and a boost to the entire ecosystem.
Over 9,000 people took part in the survey.
Big cats have been spotted in Galloway for years, sometimes black and other times tabby-coloured. Some experts have put the sightings down to pine martens and overweight domestic cats.