The group which wants to reintroduce lynx to Northumberland has announced an agreement which will insure the entire sheep population against attacks throughout any trial period.
In July, the Lynx UK Trust submitted an application to carry out a trial re-introduction of six Eurasian lynx to Kielder Forest.
If permission is given, the four females and two males would be intently studied over a five-year period – amassing information that could indicate whether a full re-introduction can be carried out with more individuals across a wider area.
The Trust has already produced comprehensive scientific data from across Europe that clearly proves lynx have a negligible impact on sheep populations.
It has also promised above-market-rate compensation for any attacks that do occur, grants for farmers to improve sheep welfare and research into reducing sheep predation by all species.
However, despite these offerings, concerns remain and a number of farming unions and groups are opposed to any reintroduction.
Dr Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for the Trust, said: “This will hopefully give them a great deal of confidence if the largest insurance market in the world is offering to cover any kind of attacks on livestock by lynx during a trial.”
The cover, arranged through a specialist division of Lloyds of London – Lloyds Syndicate ARK Speciality Programs, also extends to attacks on pets and humans.