South West Norfolk Conservative Party candidate Elizabeth Truss has stepped into the controversy about whether wild lynx should be introduced into her South West Norfolk constituency at Thetford Forest.
The plan has drawn support from animal conservation groups but has met a hostile response from farmers, concerned at the safety of their stock.
Ms Truss said she was against the idea. She said: “I am very concerned by this proposal to introduce wild lynx into Thetford Forest.
“The forest is a fantastic resource supporting recreation, a thriving timber industry and is enjoyed by families, visitors and local residents.
“We should not contemplate anything that could put livestock, wildlife and people at risk.
“I don’t believe the case for this to take place in Thetford Forest and the surrounding area has been made and I am not supportive of the proposal.”
The Lynx UK Trust’s scheme wants to release the large cats in the forest and also in privately-owned, unfenced estates in the Lake District in Cumbria and Aberdeenshire.
If the plan is given the green light, after a public consultation, four to six Eurasian lynx wearing GPS tracking collars would be released later this year at each of the sites.
The idea is that the lynx would help control the more than 1 million deer now roaming the countryside.