Second lynx at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom dies

Missing lynxImage copyright Borth Wild Animal Kingdom
Image caption Lilleth went missing some time in the last three weeks

A second lynx, belonging to a zoo where one escaped and was later shot, has died following a “handling error”.

The news comes after Lilleth the lynx was “humanely destroyed” on Friday after escaping from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, Ceredigion.

In a statement, the zoo confirmed an investigation was under way after the death of the second lynx, Nilly.

The Lynx UK Trust called for the zoo to be closed, saying the deaths were “unacceptable”.

‘Devastated’

Ceredigion council said it was investigating this second death.

The statement from the zoo said: “It is with deep sadness and regret we announce the demise last week of Nilly, an adult female lynx, who was unrelated to Lilleth but shared an enclosure.

“Over the past few weeks our staff have been under incredible pressure and when the authorities gave us 24-hour notice that they would be carrying out a full cat inspection we took the decision to move Nilly to a more suitable enclosure.

“Unfortunately, there seems to have been a terrible handling error where it seems she twisted in the catch-pole and became asphyxiated.”

It added that a key member of staff had been unable to work since the incident “as they are truly devastated by what has happened”.

Image caption Flowers have been left outside the zoo in tribute to Lilleth

Paul O’Donoghue, a scientific adviser at the Lynx UK Trust, which is trying to reintroduce them in the UK, said he had visited the zoo at the weekend.

“To have two die, it’s unacceptable on every level. Serious questions need to be asked about the husbandry at this zoo,” he said.

The trust has started a petition calling for the zoo’s closure which has been signed by more than 1,400 people.

The zoo’s owners said they had been “working hard to make vast improvements” over the summer and plans were in place to build a new lynx enclosure.

Ceredigion council said the death of Nilly was brought to its attention “the day after the animal had been inadvertently killed”.

The council spokesman added: “Due to an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide further comment.”

Zoo remains closed

Meanwhile, the council has defended its decision to have a marksman shoot Lilleth, prompting a backlash from the owners who had been trying to capture her with bait traps.

The council said despite “exhaustive efforts” to recapture her, it was necessary to act because she had strayed into a populated area and “the safety of the public was paramount”.

Lilleth is believed to have escaped after making a “giant leap” over an electrified fence.

Among those to criticise the council’s decision to shoot Lilleth was TV presenter Ben Fogle who tweeted that “dogs cause more injury to sheep and people”.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales said the killing “was long overdue” given the danger to people and livestock.

Dean and Tracy Tweedy took over Borth Wild Animal Kingdom less than six months ago.

They said the zoo would remain closed until further notice.

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