Aberdeenshire could be a lynx reintroduction site
A UK project to reintroduce wild lynx could see them sited in Aberdeenshire.
An area near Huntly has been chosen as a Scottish option by Lynx UK Trust for trials alongside two in England.
A public consultation has been launched ahead of formal licence applications to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx.
Dr Paul O'Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for Lynx UK Trust, said: "As a very dedicated forest animal, lynx will rarely come across agricultural animals."
He said there would be a full subsidy program in place for farmers anywhere near reintroduction sites.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has previously argued that there is a "moral and ecological" case for the return of the lynx to Scotland.
It believes the reintroduction of predators such as the lynx would help restore balance in Scotland's natural ecosystems.
The lynx is the third largest predator in Europe, after the brown bear and the wolf.
Making a comeback?
The Eurasian lynx is a medium sized cat found in western Europe, Russia and central Asia. The last British lynx, closely related to the north European lynx, disappeared around 700 AD.
It hunts deer and smaller species such as rabbit and hare and is highly elusive.
Other European countries which have successfully reintroduced lynx have developed wildlife tourism alongside them.
The animals are solitary apart from during the breeding season.
Adults vary in size from 80-130cm in length and up to 70cm at the shoulder. They can weigh from 10-40kg.
Source: Lynx UK Trust