THE Lynx UK Trust has responded to the government after it rejected its bid to reintroduce the big cat to Kielder Forest.

The trust had applied for a licence for a trial reintroduction of six Eurasian lynx.

But earlier this month Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, wrote to the trust informing it he had accepted government conservation agency Natural England’s advice not to grant a licence for the scheme.

Now Dr Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for the Lynx UK Trust, has written to Mr Gove, saying that while the trust will work to deliver more clarity on some of its points going forward, other points raised by the government “seem to have ignored key evidence”.

In the letter, Dr O’Donoghue addressed the government’s concerns about the project’s reliance on volunteers. “Many conservation projects are effectively run and managed by committed volunteers all over the UK and overseas,” he wrote.

In response to claims there was not enough local support for the project, the trust said it had provided letters of support from a range of local community sectors, including from some local sheep farmers.

Dr O’Donoghue wrote: “I, and all of the team at the trust, remain as committed and determined as ever to see lynx given a chance to return, and a fair treatment in consideration of the evidenced benefits they will bring.”