A lynx went missing last week from a Wildlife park in Ceredigion, Wales, with reports flooding in of animal deaths due to lynx attacks, as reported by fwi.co.uk.
Farmers in the region have reported seven sheep being killed in the seven days since the lynx made its escape. Farm leaders fear an escaped lynx may have struck, killing seven sheep seven days after it went missing from a wildlife park in Ceredigion.
The Lynx is the Eurasian breed and goes by the name Lilleth. It escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom over a week ago. Police have warned for farmers to stay vigilant, with concerns over future attacks. The National Sheep Association of Wales, said the attacks show all the signs of a lynx attack. NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, called the attacks “concerning” and said this puts a damper to plans to reintroduce the lynx into the wild.
Mr. Stocker said it is concerning as the lynx is the same species as the one proposed for re-release by the Lynx UK Trust. They had applied to the Natural England to reintroduce the wild cats at Kielder Forest in Northumberland.
“There cannot be a clearer warning of the damage lynx will do if they are released into the wild,” he said.
He said the Lynx Trust UK insist that the lynx will average only 0.4 sheep every year.
“Lynx UK Trust continue to assure us that lynx, on average, will take just 0.4 sheep annually. A fact which is simply unbelievable given the damage just one has inflicted after several days of roaming free.” he added.
“This incident also backs up what we are hearing from a number of sheep farmers in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe who tell us of high losses they’ve experienced from individual lynx that develop the behavioral characteristic of an opportunistic hunter,” he added.
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Help from farmers:
The NSA chief executive expressed his sympathy to all the farmers affected and said they should be commended for the support they have provided the wildlife park in their efforts to recapture the lynx.
“The risk lynx pose to sheep, and the subsequent anxiety which would be suffered by sheep farmers if they were released is clear, but NSA’s concerns reach far wider than that,” he stated.
“Through their normal work, sheep farmers are continually supporting wildlife and grassland ecology and this valuable activity could be undermined if a lynx release were to go ahead.” he added.
Welsh government officials carried out a post-mortem examination on the carcass of one of the sheep. It determined that the cause of death, was bite marks to the next and internal bleeding. Seven sheep were killed in total, with only two partially eaten. They NSA say the lynx killed the sheep out of pure instinct like a domesticated cat would do with mice.
Warning below image, courtesy of NSA, shows some disturbing content of the injured sheep.