'Bring wolves and lynxes back to Britain,' says Chris Packham

German wolves Credit: Carsten Rehder / DPA

Wolves and lynxes should be reintroduced into the Scottish countryside to boost tourism and police the exploding deer population, according to TV naturalist Chris Packham.

The Springwatch presenter told The Radio Times that large predators are needed for a "sustainable working landscape".

He said: "Wolves live in Portugal, Spain, Italy and in Sweden too. There have been only two fatalities since the year 2000, both in the US, and certainly none in Europe."

"If we did have wolves – which would have to be in Scotland – and lynxes then lots of people would pay to go see them and they would be a great asset to the community."

He argued that beavers had recently been reintroduced back to British waters after hundreds of years, and added that while lynx had been brought back to Germany, Slovakia, Switzerland, France and Spain, "there have been no authenticated accounts of them attacking people".

"Given that we have 350,000 roe deer in Scotland, reintroducing a predator to have an impact on that population would be good," he said.

Springwatch's Chris Packham Credit: PA Archive

"What we would like to move towards is a more tolerant society that understands the fact that to have a sustainable working landscape we need large predators.

"We have lived without them in the UK for such a long time that people are very resistant to the idea of them coming back, which is a shame because we do know better and we do need them, and it would be tremendously exciting.