Here in Stirlingshire we’re always in the thick of things when it comes to the pulsing heart of nature. This is why we’re thrilled to announce that we might soon become the direct beneficiaries of the return of the Eurasian Lynx to the Scottish countryside – more than a thousand years after they became extinct in the UK.
The Lynx UK Trust has been campaigning to reintroduce the lynx species to areas across the Trossachs, Argyll and Inverness-shire for quite some time now, and we hear that the conservation group is inching closer to realising its mission.
The organisation’s aim is to continue promoting the wellbeing of Scotland’s ecology, which has suffered a degree of devastation due to booms in deer and pine marten populations in recent years. Its proposal includes a 10,000-square-mile stretch earmarked for a pilot reintroduction, which it hopes would eventually support regeneration efforts and control the swift decline of capercaillie and woodland grouse in these areas.
History of the Lynx in Britain
So what really underlies this scenario of a new, medium-sized feline species entering our territories? There are more than one species of lynx, but the one that is likely to be allowed to roam free in the Scottish wilderness is the Eurasian Lynx. This lynx species is thought to have gone extinct in the UK – where it inhabited the northern regions of the nation – at some point in the medieval ages, around 1300 years ago.
It was initially thought that the lynx had died out in Britain either around 10,000 years ago – after the ice build-up from the Ice Age had retreated – or about 4,000 years ago, during a cooler and wetter climate change. However, carbon dating of lynx bones found in caves in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands and in Craven in North Yorkshire prove that the lynx still lived in Britain between 80 and 425 AD.
Take a look at these cool facts about the Eurasian lynx:
- The Eurasian Lynx is one of the most widely spread cat species in the world, inhabiting forested areas in Western Europe, Russia and Central Asia.
- The Eurasian Lynx is the largest species of lynx, and the third largest mammal predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf.
- This cat species is a religious carnivore – Eurasian Lynxes only tend to feed on ungulates (hooved mammals), such as deer. This is why the Lynx UK Trust argues that they could be the answer to the uncontained explosion of deer in northern Scotland. When food is scarce, however, they also eat smaller prey like hares, foxes and rabbits.
- The Eurasian Lynx is a relatively silent feline and mammal, making only very low sounds that go unheard most of the time. In fact, its presence in a natural area can go unnoticed for years.
- The Eurasian Lynx can survive up to 17 years in the wild, while captive specimens held in sanctuaries can live for up to 24 years.
- Ancient names for the lynx species in British languages include “lugh” in Scottish Gaelic, “llew” in Welsh and “lox” in Old English.
Watch Some Wildlife with Us
Now that we’ve updated your knowledge about this fascinating cat species, the good news is that we’re going to be in the centre of it all. DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro is the perennial launching pad for wildlife-watching in Stirlingshire. Besides the highly-anticipated arrival of the lynx close to our lands, we also host a colourful and diverse animal kingdom 365 days a year in our backyard and beyond.
Kids have the time of their life in the company of their furry friends, so don’t shy away from booking the perfect break for your family. We’ll be happy to guide you to the best wildlife-spotting walks and tours in our environs.
To celebrate one of our favourite seasons, we have our fabulous Autumn Breaks with Prosecco offer. From just £109 per room per night, you and a special someone can bask in breakfast, dinner, bubbly and the fantastic fauna and flora we have to offer.
What’s more, your culinary experience will be in the hands of celebrity chef Nick Nairn. Whipping up his wonderful creations for our guests day in day out, his magic chop, sprinkle and sizzle will be yours to sample. The Kailyard is our signature restaurant hosting the meals included in the above package, so you know you’ll walk away with a piece of rustic Scotland in your heart.