Carnivores released into wild 'fail and die'
Most carnivores bred in captivity and released back into the wild fail to cope and die, according to a study published on Monday.
Researchers are calling for a complete rethink of such reintroductions before others are carried out, including the suggested release of animals such as the lynx, wildcat and wolf into Scotland.
Most of the deaths of carnivores released back into the wild were caused by human activities
The study looked at reintroductions involving such carnivores as lynx, Amur tiger, cheetah, brown bear and otter, and found only one in three captive-bred animals released into their natural habitat survived.
Most of the deaths were caused by human activities, suggested the captive-bred animals were too trusting of humans, and some starved to death because they did not know how to hunt.
Kirsten Jule, lead author of the paper, said: "Animals in captivity do not usually have the natural behaviours needed for success in the wild. Their lack of hunting skills and their lack of fear towards humans are major disadvantages.
"We have suspected for some time that captive-born animals fared less well than wild animals, but here it is finally quantified, and the extent of the problem is critical."