Following its reintroduction in western Switzerland, the lynx is set to make a return to eastern parts of the country. Five eastern cantons signed an agreement with the federal authorities on Friday to take part in a three-year trial project.
Cantons Zurich and St Gallen will be the first to welcome the wild cat. They will later be joined by Thurgau, Appenzell Innerrhoden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden.
In a statement, the federal office for the environment said four to six lynx would be released into the wild during the first year. By the end of the project that number should have risen to between eight and 12.
The statement said the participating cantons were giving "a clear signal of support for the endangered species". The lynx population in the northwestern Alps has recently suffered a marked decrease.
The animals designated for resettlement are currently at large in cantons Bern, Fribourg and Vaud. They will be rounded up over the winter when their prints are visible in the snow.
The lynx will be monitored by means of collars fitted with tracking devices and their state of health will be subject to checks. It should also be possible to gauge the effect the wild cats are having on local populations of deer and chamois.
The project organisers said a public relations officer had been hired to try to win round opponents of the lynx.
swissinfo with agencies
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