Lynx UK Trust have called for the closure of Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, home to escapee lynx Lillith which was shot over the weekend, as reports emerge that keepers at the zoo have killed a second lynx attempting to move it to another enclosure. The Trust insist that incompetence at the zoo and local Ceredigion County Council is wholly to blame for the death of Lillith and the second lynx, calling for the closure of all “hobby zoos” as a “disaster waiting to happen”.
Lynx UK Trust, the organisation responsible for the current drive to reintroduce wild lynx to the UK, have hit out at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom and Ceredigion County Council, the organisations responsible for the care of escapee lynx Lillith that was shot over the weekend, and the care of a second lynx which was strangled to death last week by keepers attempting to move it to a different cage. The Trust are demanding the immediate closure of the zoo and rehoming of the remaining lynx.
It is believed that Lillith 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 Lillith 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.
“I am in no doubt whatsoever where the fault lies; focus on the zoo whose ineptitude placed an unpredictable captive-bred and human-habituated animal loose in the British countryside, then strangled a second to death whilst moving it to cover up their abysmal care practices. Ceredigion County Council, who allowed this zoo to operate, are equally to blame.
“What if it had been Borth’s crocodile that escaped? Or their two lions? Their leopard almost escaped a few years ago when it’s cage door was left open; how long are we going to let these hobby zoos run by amateurs keep operating? Will it take the death of a human for someone to take action?
“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.