Friday, 20 May 2016

Lynx Set to Rewild Devon

Lynx are returning to a Devon Woodland… Is this the start of a new wilder Devon?

Wildwood Trust, which operates a visitor centre at Escot, near Ottery St Mary, are inviting people to come and see the lynx as they champion rewilding in Devon. The charity is making the bold claim that rewilding can create an ecological and tourism resurgence in the county, bringing jobs and wildlife in equal abundance.

The animal experts at Wildwood Trust have been working tirelessly to build a natural woodland enclosure which shows off these formerly native animals that once prowled the woodlands of Devon.

The charity is already showing off the nearly extinct British wildcat at the popular Escot tourist attraction and establishing a breeding programme which aims to rescue this formerly native animal of Devon from extinction and return them to rewilded areas.

Wildwood's two lynx are young brothers, born in 2015, and were a gift from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. They can be seen on sunny days lounging on their giant fallen tree or in their den. On wet days, look for them in their warmest den at the side of the enclosure.

The two lynx are about to celebrate their first birthday; Theron, the spottier of the two, is Greek for hunter, a word used in Latin languages for the ‘untamed’ & Lorcan comes from the old Irish for ‘little fierce one’ .

Peter Smith, Wildwood’s founder, said: “Devon’s uplands have been destroyed by a century of overgrazing and it is our aim to return the wildwood to its former condition. By changing the rules of agricultural subsidies and returning a top predator like a lynx, our uplands could blossom with wildlife and draw people from around the world to enjoy a rebirth of wildlife.”

“Rewilding has many benefits, with more jobs, and cleaner water and air. Rewilding can have a major impact on reducing flooding downstream to farms and towns. The list of benefits far outweighs the negatives and the real challenge of the rewilding movement is to allow a democratic debate for the majority of the population to reclaim public policy on how our wild lands are managed.”

The lynx is a formerly native large cat but is not dangerous to people,  with no recorded attacks on humans in the wild

The lynx will act as a top predator changing the behaviour of the sheep and deer that have grazed our uplands to their current degraded state. This behaviour change means animals will avoid rocky outcrops and gullies, allowing the wildwood to establish and grow, providing ecological diversity at no cost to the taxpayer.

Rewilding benefits the majority of people and our investment in building a rewilding visitor centre on the Escot Estate aims to demonstrate what can be achieved and help build a movement to champion bringing the wildwood back to the south west.

This work will continue for years to come and visitors to Wildwood Escot can now share in our journey to show just what a rewilded Devon can look like. Visitors can also join our charity as members to forward this cause.  In addition to seeing the lynx, visitors can also enjoy a walk around the magnificent grounds, experiencing our other formerly native wildlife such as red squirrels, wild boar, wildcats and even beavers, which can be seen on our special beaver watch evenings. The park boasts many other features such as an exciting maze, adventure play area and the infamous tree top drop slide.”

To visit the lynx and enjoy an exciting day out for all the family, visit   or call 01404 822188. All profits go towards our charitable work.

High resolution images and broadcast quality High Definition Video footage of the lynx is available by request or at an interview.

Promotional Video: Interview with Peter Smith on Wildwood Trust’s Objectives(content can be rebroadcast):

To arrange an interview or get further information

Wildwood Escot: +44(0)1404 822188
Wildwood Escot, Estate Office, Ottery St Mary, Devon. EX11 1LU
Registered Charity No. 1093702
Follow us on Twitter: @WildwoodEscot

Lynx (Lynx lynx)
The Eurasian lynx is a solitary cat that haunts the forests of Europe. It is the third largest predator in Europe, after the brown bear and wolf. Lynx are covered with beautiful thick tawny fur with faint spots. Their large paws are also furry and hit the ground with a spreading toe motion that makes them function as natural snowshoes. They are about the size of a collie dog – far bigger than a domestic cat but smaller than the wolves. They have short black-tipped tails and long back legs for jumping. Their ears have long tufts to aid hearing.

These stealthy cats avoid humans and hunt at night, so they are rarely seen. Lynx became extinct in Britain due to habitat loss and hunting for their fur. They have been absent from Devon for at least 1200 years.

Wildwood's two lynx are young brothers, born in 2015, and were a gift from the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. They can be seen on sunny days lounging on their giant fallen tree or in their den. On wet days, look for them in their warmest den at the side of the enclosure.


Wildwood Trust was formed in 2002 as a centre of excellence for the conservation of British wildlife, and to promote efforts to rewild Britain. Wildwood Trust took over the running of Escot Park in 2015 with the charitable aim of continuing the Estate’s objectives to promote wildlife education and conservation. As one of the leading British animal conservation charities in the UK, Wildwood Trust is dedicated to saving Britain's most threatened wildlife. Wildwood Trust has taken part in many ground-breaking conservation programmes to date, which include, saving the water vole, using wild horses to help restore precious nature reserves, bringing the extinct European beaver back to Britain and returning the hazel dormouse and red squirrel to areas where they have been made extinct.

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