1. ITV Report

Escaped lynx destroyed amid fears for public safety

Lilleth the Eurasian lynx had been missing from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom since 29 October. Credit: PA

A lynx that escape from a wildlife park in Wales has been destroyed after it strayed into a populated area, the local council said.

Lillith the Eurasian lynx, which was around twice the size of a domestic cat, had been missing from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom in Ceredigion since 29 October.

The wildlife park said they were "devastated" by the wildcat's death. The park said the one-and-a-half year old had not posed a danger to humans.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Saturday, a spokesperson for the Borth Wild Animal Kingdom said: "I would like to make it clear to everyone ... that the decision to kill her was not ours and we in no way agreed to or participated in the shooting of our baby Lynx.

"We are truly devastated and outraged that this happened."

There were several sighting of the cat during an operation by keepers, assisted at times by a police helicopter, to return the animal to the park around six miles from Aberystwyth.

However Ceredigion Council said the decision had been taken to humanely destroy the wild animal after the risk it posed to the public increased "to severe" following failed attempts to recapture it.

A statement shared by Aberystwyth central councillor Ceredig Davies on Facebook said: "It is with deep regret that Ceredigion County Council reports on the humane destruction of the Eurasian Lynx that recently escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom.

"Despite exhaustive multi agency efforts to recapture the class A animal, the multi-agency group responding to the incident received additional advice late on Friday afternoon, 10 November, from a specialist veterinary surgeon that the risk to public well-being had increased from moderate to severe due to the continued failure of the Wild Animal Kingdom to recapture the Lynx."

According to the park said there have never been any recorded attacks by a lynx on a human, but officials warned that they were wild animals with sharp teeth and claws and "will attack if cornered or trapped".

Dozens of people replied to Mr Davies's post expressing their outrage at the decision to kill the animal.

One wrote: "Question: if it was in close enough range to be killed, why could it not have been shot with a sedative?"

Another said: "Other countries can tranquillise big cats & other wildlife, capture and move them to another location away from populated areas. Shame on Ceredigion."