An escaped lynx accused of killing seven sheep in Wales has been shot dead on the orders of a local council.
Lillith, a Eurasian lynx who was twice the size of a domestic cat, went missing from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth on 29 October.
She was shot dead after Ceredigion Council warned of an increased risk to humans after the cat "strayed over to a populated area of the community".
The escaped animal was already suspected of having killed seven sheep within a few hundred yards of the town of Borth, in Ceredigion, on Owen Jenkins’ farm.
An FUW spokesman said: "In an ideal world the lynx would have been quickly recaptured, but this did not happen.
"Given the risk to people and livestock, action to remove such a danger was long overdue. Had the animal not been allowed to escape in the first place, this situation would not have arisen, and it seems a number of our member’s livestock would not have been attacked and killed.”
Sheep have been found to make up more than a third of wild lynx diets in Norway, alongside bigger herbivores such as roe deer, reindeer and even moose. Attacks by lynxes on humans have also been recorded, but are rare.
“Despite being around the size of a sheepdog, an animal like this will routinely kill animals much bigger than itself, and the fact it was used to humans increased the risk it posed to the public,” said the FUW spokesman.
“Some have already expressed their outrage over the shooting, but the public reaction would have been far greater had the animal attacked an adult or child, as has happened elsewhere.”
Last week the the FUW wrote to the Welsh Government and the local Police Commissioner expressing concerns that the danger the animal posed was not being taken seriously.
With proposals to introduce lynx to the north of England, and even parts of Wales, the FUW says the incident should come as a stark warning.
“It is no coincidence that the places targeted for campaigns to release lynxes are remote rural areas, and claims their impacts on livestock are negligible are not borne out by the evidence from the continent.
“If they are really as harmless as some people say, why aren’t we considering their release in heavily populated areas such as Surrey?”
Britain’s sheep farming industry lives entirely on taxpayer subsidies. So you’d have thought they might go along with the wish of 99% of taxpayers to reintroduce the harmless, secretive lynx, which is protected in every other European country. But no. t.co/TPdSvzlsJY— Ben Goldsmith (@BenGoldsmith)
Britain’s sheep farming industry lives entirely on taxpayer subsidies. So you’d have thought they might go along with the wish of 99% of taxpayers to reintroduce the harmless, secretive lynx, which is protected in every other European country. But no. https://t.co/TPdSvzlsJY— Ben Goldsmith (@BenGoldsmith) November 11, 2017
No pal, 99% of British taxpayers think Lynx is a can of deodorant, not the mythical pacifist forest cat it’s supporters claim. Most couldn’t care less. t.co/wo3ocw2GRK— Ben Briggs (@FGBen)
In a statement posted on the zoo’s Facebook page a spokesman 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."
The news that she had been shot dead was posted on Facebook by Aberystwyth central councillor Ceredig Davies.
He 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.
"The safety of the public was paramount and therefore once the Lynx had strayed over to a populated area of the community it was necessary to act decisively."