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Schoolchildren inspired by iconic species which once roamed Cumbrian landscape

Elva the Lynx, Lake District Wild Animal Park

[A] group of local schoolchildren who have adopted two distinctive Lynx at the Lake District Wildlife Park near Keswick have been taking a hands-on approach to finding out more about an iconic species that also once roamed wild in Cumbria’s forests thousands of years ago.

12 and 13 year olds from Class 8VW at Keswick School did a variety of odd jobs and helping out at home in order to adopt the Park’s two Northern Eurasian Lynx, Elva and Caermote, who are both named after local Lake District sites of interest where Lynx would have been found before they became extinct in the UK.

But it hasn’t stopped there…. The group of 30 schoolchildren wanted to learn more about the animals they had adopted and have visited keepers at the Lake District Wildlife Park to learn more about the behaviour and biology of the Lynx – both in the wild and captivity.

They have also taken part in an educational workshop to look at the process – and ethics – of potentially re-introducing this species back into the wild in the future. This ties in with an application made last summer for the trial reintroduction of lynx into Northumberland’s Kielder Forest.

Class 8VW from Keswick School , with keeper Hannah Loughnane

Class Teacher Victoria Wood says, “Working closely with staff from the Lake District Wildlife Park, we wanted to give the children a chance not just to say they had adopted the Lynx, but to really dig deeper and start thinking about the very real conservation issues facing the species.

“The park visit and workshop have already ignited some interesting ideas and conversations about the effects of re-introducing a large carnivore back into the wild on local communities and eco-systems. They are now putting together their own presentations to talk about what they have learnt.”

Education and Marketing at the Lake District Wildlife Park, Lucy Dunn, adds, “It’s vitally important to us that we are not just a visitor attraction, but also a force for helping to educate and shape a better future for the animals and the environment we are safeguarding. Inspiring the next generation is a key part of helping us to achieve this.”

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