After a rather protracted game of hide and seek, the 18-month-old Lynx named Lilleth was unceremoniously shot dead, prompting a political blame game and a huge row over her “cruel and unnecessary” fate, The Telegraph UK reported.
Tracy Tweedy, 47, co-owner of Borth Animal Kingdom, said she would fight the local council for justice “every step of the way” after being informed that the lynx, whom she insisted had posed no threat to the public, had been killed by a professional game hunter.
“We in no way agreed to or participated in the shooting of our baby Lynx,” she said. “We are truly devastated and outraged that this happened.”
Until a few days prior, she was believed to be within the zoo’s perimeter fence but her fate was sealed when she was spotted asleep under a caravan in a local holiday park, closed for the winter season.
Tweedy suggested the shooting could easily have been avoided had the council not insisted on following unnecessary protocol.
“The caravan was boarded in on three sides with decking and all we had to do was sling a net across the back and we would have had her trapped,” she said.
“Unfortunately, one of the officials insisted that he needed to photograph her and make a positive ID before we were allowed close. He slipped and fell going up the bank which startled her causing her to run past him and off across the fields.”
Ceredigion County Council declared that the risk to the local community had “increased from moderate to severe” and that as she had strayed into a populated area, it was necessary to act decisively and “humanely destroy” the animal.
In a rather disturbing press release issued by the Lynx UK Trust last Sunday, alleges that a second Borth Zoo lynx was killed by strangulation.
It is believed that Lilleth escaped from an enclosure with five lynx in it after being attacked by one of the other cats, using a tree the zoo had failed to cut back. Sending out keepers with no experience of trapping animals in the wild, the zoo and council refused offers of help and advice from the Lynx UK Trust and others and Lilleth was eventually shot over the weekend.
However, the zoo and council have managed to hide from the press that a second lynx was strangled to death by keepers with a dog noose at the zoo last week, as they attempted to move it to a second cage in advance of a zoo inspection.
“I’ve visited Borth Zoo and had the entire sequence of events explained to me,” states chief scientific advisor to the Trust, Dr. Paul O’Donoghue, “The levels of incompetence and ineptitude are mind-blowing; you don’t cram five solitary lynx into a single cage together, you don’t leave easily climbed trees in the enclosure, you don’t refuse offers of free help from actual lynx experts and you don’t try to hide these circumstances from a zoo inspector by rushing an animal move, resulting in it being strangled to death with a noose.
“UK hobby zoos are a disaster waiting to happen, if they aren’t closed down I am in no doubt that eventually someone will be killed by an escaped and unpredictable captive-bred animal, Borth and other zoos like it must be closed down before someone gets killed.”
The Lynx UK Trust has confirmed that they can provide secure individual enclosures for all of Borth’s surviving lynx at a recently established 30-acre wildlife rescue centre in Wales, staffed by experts in wild felines.