The Independent UK reports an unidentified individual with expertise in tracking down wild animals volunteered his services to Dartmoor Zoo to help find Flaviu the lynx that escaped from the Zoo in early July.
The professional animal tracker is prowling six square miles of countryside around the zoo, using cutting-edge heat detecting equipment in an attempt to locate the missing big cat.
He is described as a “man of mystery,” who joined the search on Thursday and has asked to remain anonymous. “He came to us with the offer of equipment which we gratefully accepted,” zoo owner Benjamin Mee told the Independent.
“One of his tools has a very long lens and can detect heat emitted from about a kilometer away, which is very useful.” Since his escape, Flaviu is proving extremely difficult to capture and is thought to be roaming ever further from where he was last spotted.
Mr. Mee said he had expected to catch the lynx within a few days or weeks, but that it had been particularly difficult to find him. This was partly because fine weather made it less likely he would seek shelter. He also has access to plenty of food such as baby rabbits, according to Mee.
The Zoo team hopes to lure him in with the scent of his mother and ocelot urine donated by a concerned ocelot keeper. “It’s very pungent and ocelots are more powerful cats than lynx, so a lynx rolls in the urine to impress his mates and show off,” said Mr. Mee.
The Zoo is stepping up its search for Flaviu by using state-of-the-art equipment such as the Pulsar Quantum, a handheld device which detects body heat from grass where an animal has previously been.
“I don’t expect we’ll just suddenly stumble upon Flaviu,” said Mee. “We hope he can come into an area where we can control him.”