Restoration of predator would bring balance to eco-systems say conservationists
Conservationists say they need to raise £50,000 to reintroduce predatory big cats to Scotland.
Lynx could one day prowl the country’s forests if they get their way.
The Lynx UK Trust says it wants to set up a colony of the animals in an estate either in Aberdeenshire or Northumberland.
It claims the public is overwhelmingly behind the moves – despite opposition from landowners and farmers, who worry it could predate livestock.
Lynx reintroduction has a vast potential to bring ecotourism money into local communities
Lynx were wiped out in the British isles more than 1000 years ago, and conservationists say their reintroduction would help restore a natural balance to eco-systems and would provide a natural control for deer, whose numbers have rocketed.
A final decision on where the trust will launch the pilot scheme is expected to be made later this year – if it meets its fundraising targets.
Lynx UK Trust fundraiser Katherine Johnston, said: "As well as community support, we need funding to make this happen. We hope that our vision of rewilding inspires people to support our work.
"Asmall donation now can lead to a transformative impact on our rural economy and the nation's biodiversity for generations to come."
The trust says reintroduction of lynx could be worth £67.7 million to the economy over 25 years, largely through tourism.
Chief scientific adviser, Dr Paul O'Donoghue, said: "Lynx reintroduction has a vast potential to bring ecotourism money into local communities.
"It's been an incredible success in Germany and we really think the lynx will more than pay its way both through tourism but also critical ecological services like helping to control deer, allowing forest regeneration."