Sheep deaths blamed on escaped lynx

A Eurasian lynx. Picture by Erwin van Maanen
A Eurasian lynx. Picture by Erwin van Maanen

An escaped lynx has been blamed for the deaths of a number of sheep in Wales as a decision is awaited on a possible trial reintroduction of six Eurasian lynx to Kielder Forest.

Dyfed-Powys Police had warned livestock farmers to stay vigilant after a Eurasian lynx named Lilleth escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, in Aberystwyth.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has claimed that ‘after several days in the wild, it killed seven sheep in one clinical attack, while traumatising several others in the flock’.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: “There cannot be a clearer warning of the damage lynx will do if they are released into the wild. And at a time when Lynx UK Trust’s application to release lynx into Kielder Forest is under review from Natural England, it could not be more timely.”

According to Farmers Weekly, a spokeswoman for Borth Wild Animal Kingdom said it was ‘very unlikely that Lilleth had killed the sheep’.

She added: “The autopsy on one of the dead sheep came back inconclusive. We await the result of blood tests later in the week.”

A Lynx UK Trust spokesman previously said that the animals ‘have a very low impact on livestock, with lynx in Europe killing, on average, less than one sheep every two years’.

In September, the Trust announced an agreement which will insure the entire sheep population against attacks throughout any trial period.