/ Kitty won’t run any more

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pasbury on 11 Nov 2017

Sadly the escaped Lynx that I made a post about a couple of weeks ago has been shot dead in a caravan park. This upsets me for various reasons.
The poor beast, twice the size of a domestic cat, has been blamed for the deaths of seven sheep. She must have a stomach like the tardis. The killer is a marksman who runs a local firearms training school, presumably needing a bit of practice.
Tranquillisers were not considered.
But mainly it’s how far we are from the principle of allowing a native wild creature to return to a place where it belongs.
Post edited at 19:41
Dax H - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

That's a damn shame, I would love to know why tranquillisers were not an option.
EarlyBird - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to Dax H:

The local firearms expert who bagged kitty had some kind of bullshit reason why tranquillisers were not an option.
Pete Pozman - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

Bloody sad that.
Eric9Points - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:


> The poor beast, twice the size of a domestic cat, has been blamed for the deaths of seven sheep. She must have a stomach like the tardis.

I expect there are a couple of farmers who have seen an opportunity and had a little windfall as a result of the escape of this animal.
Yanis Nayu - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

F*cking outrageous.

The thing had been loose for 3 weeks and hadn’t caused a problem, before some arse-covering wankstain decided that the “threat level” had moved to “severe”, presumably based on the evidence that nobody had been killed in 3 weeks, which is unsurprising because there’s no evidence of a lynx killing a human anywhere in the world.

The bloke that shot it sounds like a billy big bollocks gobshite too.
mypyrex - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

For once I'm in full agreement with all the comments made here. I get the impression that some bloody council jobsworth decidedtht this animal posed a threat to humans
Did he or she even know how big a lynx is. I believe it 's about between the size of a large spaniel and a small Labrador
Lusk - on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

Bastards.
Dauphin on 11 Nov 2017
In reply to mypyrex:

This one will be particularly well fed i.e. bigger but also slower on account of its lavish lifestyle.

R.I.P. Moglett.

WTAF is wrong with people?

D


sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Dauphin:

Sickening to think that the shooter seems to have seen it as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to 'bag a big cat' in the UK wilds!

Trying to be optimistic, maybe the case getting plenty of national coverage will move the reintroduction debate a bit further down the road (in the right direction!).

Also presents an interesting counterpoint to the Indian elephants / wildlife story when we can't even cope with a single out-of-shape lynx roaming freely. I realise that the India story originated from the treatment of the animals but the conflict is clear, in a way it is certainly less so here.
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to EarlyBird:

From a purely firearm licencing perspective, very, very few people (a few vets perhaps) have authority to use tranquilliser equipment, so they don't have it nor store the equipment.
In the whole of Powys I only knew of a single vet with authority, so it is an actual issue and something that is not easily available.

I doubt the lynx would survive in the the wild without the hunting skills and winter coming on, eventually it would have been killing a sheep, cats or something that would wind the public up. But they should have been able to trap it round the pen, it was hungry enough.
andymac - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

Sad end for a beautiful animal.

With a minority of narrow minded,and frankly stupid, members of our species , there remains a Neanderthal attitude to tolerating other creatures .

Doug on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to andymac:


I suspect that's an insult to Neanderthals
Yanis Nayu - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

The bloke that shot it said it wasn’t practically possible to tranquillise it.
mypyrex - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

I just hope he won't be allowed to keep the remains as a "trophy"
Rob Parsons on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

> But mainly it’s how far we are from the principle of allowing a native wild creature to return to a place where it belongs.

What was the animal doing locked up in a zoo in the first place?
Tom V - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to andymac:

Agree totally.
The most beautiful creature I've seen in the wild was a mink on the banks of the Severn but most people are very intolerant of them.
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

> Agree totally.

> The most beautiful creature I've seen in the wild was a mink on the banks of the Severn but most people are very intolerant of them.

With very good reason, another American killer that has no place in the UK countryside - along with grey squirrels and signal crayfish decimating our native wildlife.
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> What was the animal doing locked up in a zoo in the first place?

Captive bred - justification of zoos is another subject altogether - but if lynx are ever returned to the wild in the UK, I would put money on them being from a captive breeding program, in UK. Which could be used as one reason to justify lynx in zoos.
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:
No, I think the plans such as they are, involve relocation from wild populations elsewhere; certainly that's what the Lynx UK trust seems to suggest. As you say, highly unlikely that a captive-bred group could cope.

Would be such a cool thing to have them in the wild, I think. Of course, you'd probably never get to actually see them because they're so elusive...
Post edited at 12:28
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to andymac:

> With a minority of narrow minded,and frankly stupid, members of our species , there remains a Neanderthal attitude to tolerating other creatures .

I would imagine the actual Neanderthal attitude probably was very different indeed! In fact, if we'd stuck with hunting and fishing (like they probably did) rather than domestication / selective breeding / the whole H. sapiens thing, we may not be in this pickle now, because our population would still be tiny!
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to sg:

That's interesting if they bring them in from Europe, I believe the Iberian lynx re-introduction in Spain was through a captive breeding program. I guess there are pros and cons for both methods.

Our pine marten reintroduction in mid Wales (very close to the lynx) was from wild capture from Scotland - think the total is about 60 over 3 years - and they seem to be doing very well, popping up on our trail cameras all over the place - seem to be incredibly inquisitive and breeding. Have a slight concern that they are right in the heart of our last red squirrel colonies, which are at very low levels and even light predation could have drastic results.
Meeting this Tuesday (red squirrel conservation) with an update from the pine marten side of things, hope to know more then.
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

Wow, interesting stuff. Jealous of your involvement with the pine martens. Hope that the squirrels can cope; I guess the difficulty is when there are so many different factors acting to limit the populations already. In Scotland just the amount of existing habitat must make life much easier for both, presumably.

Just read a bit more on the lynx. The plans for reintroduction in Kielder are clearly now quite advanced and they're pushing on with getting buy in from all local stakeholders there.
deepsoup - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to sg:
There's a story about the Lynx UK Trust in the current issue of Private Eye. (Page 38, under the headline "Lynx Effect")
It seems the University of Cumbria (originally a partner in the project) and Aecom (an engineering company who produced impact assessments on their behalf) have pulled out, citing concerns over governance and transparency. Slightly depressing reading.
Trangia on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

> Have a slight concern that they are right in the heart of our last red squirrel colonies, which are at very low levels and even light predation could have drastic results.

I heard somewhere that pine martins are having far greater success in hunting grey squirrels than red squirrels because the latter are crafty at avoiding them. It is believed that this is because both are native species and have adapted to co-exist in a balanced way over tens of thousands of years. On the other hand grey squirrels are an introduced species, and have no genetic history of avoiding such predators making them easy prey.

This could be natures way of redressing the balance between red and grey squirrels,and could re-instate the former status quo where red squirrels become our common squirrel again?

Doug on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

wild population of Iberian Lynx (a different species) was very small so captive breeding was probably the only way to reinforce the wild population. And I think the animals were raised with the intention of releasing to the wild so efforts were made to ensure they weren't 'tamed' in any way. European lynx are fairly widespread in some parts of Europe so capture & release is the way they have been reintroduced into France & Switzerland & is the most likely method for any future reintroduction in the UK
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Doug:

That makes sense. The Iberian Lynx reintroduction has been seen as successful so far, has it? As you say, the European animals are clearly in good numbers in parts of Eastern Europe.
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to deepsoup:

> There's a story about the Lynx UK Trust in the current issue of Private Eye. (Page 38, under the headline "Lynx Effect")

> It seems the University of Cumbria (originally a partner in the project) and Aecom (an engineering company who produced impact assessments on their behalf) have pulled out, citing concerns over governance and transparency. Slightly depressing reading.

Oh dear. I don't get the Eye and can't find anything else reporting on the story in a very cursory google. From what I can see it must be a pretty recent development because all parties appear to have been signed up until earlier this year. Be interesting see how it pans out and disappointing if the project stalls as a result.
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Trangia:

Spot on, this is our hope but lots of question marks still. My involvement is on the red squirrel side, but with the marten release in our area we are working and liasing together.
The lady doing a PhD on the scheme has been collecting data on the effects of the marten release on the grey squirrel population (tracking collars on martens and greys etc) and analysing diet. But I don't think she has published yet and not giving anything away. We know that martens have had both reds and greys already, but not how many or what is happening.
Suffice to say we have about 10 camera traps and feeders out this summer and results are not a single red squirrel and martens on every camera - hence slight concerns, hopefully unfounded!
timjones - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

> I expect there are a couple of farmers who have seen an opportunity and had a little windfall as a result of the escape of this animal.

Can you explain how your windfall theory works?

scoobydougan - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

The Ecologist we use believes that the lighter weight of the Red gives it an advantage over the Grey because it can use smaller branches to escape.
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to scoobydougan:

> The Ecologist we use believes that the lighter weight of the Red gives it an advantage over the Grey because it can use smaller branches to escape.

Nice ecology; I'd love to see the experiment that they have / will run to test this in the field!
Tom V - on 12 Nov 2017

I doubt the mink ever asked to be brought over here to be farmed and skinned. I also doubt whether they asked to be freed by misguided animal rights campaigners. but it's a historical fact now, as was the introduction of rabbits.

And my favourite owl is the little owl, another of these damnable foreign imports .
Perhaps a culling is long overdue.
Post edited at 16:25
Tony Jones - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:
I agree that mink weren't party to their introduction. However the introduction of alien species can cause havoc in established ecosystems: signal crayfish are, for most of us invisible but have had profound impacts on Britain's freshwater ecology.

Unfortunately, until top predators (other than humans) are reintroduced, it's hard to see how some degree of human intervention or management can be avoided if we are to preserve what native fauna and flora we still have.

[Edit] I should also add that I am absolute agreement with the sentiments expressed by others here in condemning the shooting of the escaped Borth lynx.
Post edited at 17:31
Tony Jones - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

I'd be very interested to know what populations of red squirrels remain in mid Wales. If it's information that can be divulged here, please keep us updated.
Moley on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Tony Jones:

> I'd be very interested to know what populations of red squirrels remain in mid Wales. If it's information that can be divulged here, please keep us updated.

We simply don't know, there being no way of counting the population - all centred in the Towy forest area. Pretty much rely on reports of sightings from the public, which are very hard to positively confirm (without a picture off a phone or similar) and see what the trend is. Camera traps help but impossible to judge numbers from them.
There's been various estimates, but I personally think on the optimistic side and we know where some are, in fact I saw a short video of one from a new forest area last week. I have yet to see one in the flesh, several years looking. My guess at numbers, maybe 50???? Hope I'm wrong and it's more but every guestimates is a guess.
John W on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2006/jun/27/germany.lukeharding

Meanwhile, our Germany countrymen managed to shoot the first bear to wander into the country for 170 years - he was sitting outside a police station at the time! Wankers.

JW
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to John W:


> Meanwhile, our Germany countrymen managed to shoot the first bear to wander into the country for 170 years - he was sitting outside a police station at the time! Wankers.

> JW

Wow, I can understand the frustration of German environmentalists there. I mean that really is very different story to the lynx, being a wandering bear just seeking to expand its feeding territory (I assume?) and, presumably, reversing a trend of several centuries without the need of reintroduction.
Tony Jones - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

Many thanks for that!

Here's hoping that pine martens do impact the grey squirrel population.
John W on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to sg:

Not just German environmentalists, believe me - there was uproar among the general public, which is (in my experience) much more environmentally aware than in England. The people I spoke to felt that it had brought shame on their country.

JW
sg - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to John W:

Well quite; it's a very big deal. Presumably there'll be pressure to enact some protective legislation?
Ridge - on 12 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

> Agree totally.

> The most beautiful creature I've seen in the wild was a mink on the banks of the Severn but most people are very intolerant of them.

Probably for the reasons Moley described in his post. Mink are an absolute ecological disaster for native species.
Tom V - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Ridge:
Do mainland European conservationists have the same hangups about "native species"?
For those keen on getting rid of mink, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust will tell you how to kill one humanely with an air pistol once you have trapped it.
A few pages further on they will tell you that grouse moors risk becoming uneconomic if too much raptor predation is allowed. I wonder what bird they have in mind?
Post edited at 00:45
Doug on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

> Do mainland European conservationists have the same hangups about "native species"?

Varies but many do, there's even EU legislation

L Sanjeev Nanda - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

It's a shame that this beautiful vreature was shot dead. Why tranquilizers were not an option is a mystery to me. Shame to the marksman as well. Bloody B***ard.
wercat on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Sanjeev Nanda:

is there any chance of an investigation as to whether any crime has been committed?
climbEdclimb - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

This is the latest press release from Ceredigion County Council:

Date: November 12
Update on the Lynx
The decision to authorise the putting down of the Eurasian Lynx that recently escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom was an operational one taken after receiving expert advice, based on the level of risk to members of the public. All options for dealing with the escaped Lynx had been considered prior to the decision being taken on what was agreed to be a proportionate, reasonable and swift course of action.
The decision to proceed was taken with the support of Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police, the Welsh Government and the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales. The Lynx had been on the loose for more than two weeks, was known to have moved away from the proximity of the zoo. The Lynx has also encroached on a populated area, but was not afraid of humans. It was not possible to assess the condition or temperament of the Lynx but there were concerns about its likely behavioural response if it was startled or inadvertently confronted by a member of the public, especially by a young child. It must be remembered that the Lynx is classified in legislation as ‘dangerous and wild’ and the authorities were dealing with an unmanaged, escape situation.
When the operational arrangements were being considered, the issue of tranquilising the creature were specifically discussed. Due to the nature of the terrain and vegetation in the area, the time it would take for the sedative to take effect and the uncertainty of how the Lynx would react, the expert advice was that tranquilising the Lynx was not an option. On other occasions and in different circumstances it may be fitting to attempt to tranquilise an escaped animal but, based on the factors involved with this incident, it was decided that it was not appropriate.
The advice of the Council’s expert veterinary practitioner and the position of the Chief Veterinary Officer was certain in this regards. While the Council would have wished for a different outcome to this incident, to protect public safety, the Council had no option other than to take decisive action.
An investigation has commenced into the circumstances surrounding the escape of the Lynx, to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence and other related matters. While enquiries are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further on the circumstances surrounding this matter.
---ENDS---
Moley on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

> Do mainland European conservationists have the same hangups about "native species"?

Yes, recent legislation was passed on species of concern throughout the union, there's loads on Google about it but here's the basics without too much legal jargon

http://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/first-eu-list-37-invasive-alien-species-comes-force/

Our aim was purely to get grey squirrel on the list - as they are now also a threat to mainland Europe, through a foolish introduction in Italy. Note a lot of plants (knotweed, balsam) which we see everywhere, insects, fish, a number of crayfish species and larger mammals like muntjac deer. I'm pretty sure the list in this article has been added to since, now nearer 50 species.
Deri Jones - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Trangia:

Was it this article by Ben Dolphin?
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/meet-the-pine-marten/0017144/
Moley - interesting to here about the red squirrel - I'm sure I can remember seeing them when jaunting around that part of the world as a kid. How far North in Wales do the Pine Marten extend - I'm sure I've seen something different to the usual weasel/stoat up on the North edge of the Pumlumon plateau.
wercat on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

I saw a red crossing the road for Hexham just out of Alston on Saturday morning - we haven't done enough for them
Tony Jones - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Deri Jones:

> How far North in Wales do the Pine Marten extend - I'm sure I've seen something different to the usual weasel/stoat up on the North edge of the Pumlumon plateau.

A polecat maybe?

Moley on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Deri Jones:

There's a very strong polecat population in mid Wales (probably through all Wales, but I see them here) so most probably that.
The pine martens spread out erratically after release, some stayed around near release sight, some came and went, one marten legged it straight up to Clochaenog forest in N. Wales, think it stayed (perhaps it was heading back to Scotland and then changed it's mind!). Looks like the total release is 51 martens over 3 years, just completed the last transfer.
Better info than I can give you here: http://www.pine-marten-recovery-project.org.uk/

If anyone interested looks like there's a meeting at Devils Bridge on Nov. 23.
Deri Jones - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley (and Tony):

Thanks both!
Dax H - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to climbEdclimb:

I read on the Borth parks page that it was sighted under a caravan on a closed for the season Park but some official wouldn't let them net off the area without photographic proof it was that cat and it got away.
Seems its okay to shoot first but not to net first incase you get the wrong animal.
scoobydougan - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Dax H:

A second Lynx has died at the animal park apparently it was aphixiated whilst being restrained
Timmd on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to timjones:
> Can you explain how your windfall theory works?

Good point, who would they get compensation for a lost sheep from?

I'm reminded of many gunners on US bombers flying over to Germany during the day all shooting at the same planes, and all claiming it is a kill when it crashes. The 7 lost sheep could have been lost to other animals in the same area which the lynx was in at the time.
Post edited at 12:24
captain paranoia - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

> If anyone interested looks like there's a meeting at Devils Bridge on Nov. 23.

A meeting of the released pine martens...? Have they RSVP'd...?
Moley on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> A meeting of the released pine martens...? Have they RSVP'd...?

Boom, boom
cb294 - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to pasbury:

Shame, but killing escaped zoo animals is often unavoidable (even though tranquilizing would be preferrable). Over here in Germany we recently had a case when some lunatics opened the wolf enclosure at the info centre of a Bavarian national park, allowing six wolves very much accustomed to humans to escape. One got run over by a train, one by a car, two were shot. It is essential to catch or kill the others, too, before they mix with a wild pack that has recently established a territory only a few km away. Great success for the wolf lovers, that idiocy backfired spectacularly!

Similarly, here in Saxony, one individual wolf was causing problems, turning local opinion very much against the wolves. This animal was recently identified as a pup raised by humans in Poland and subsequently released into the wild.

I believe that once packs are established it is probably necessary to kill a few animals every few years to make them avoid settlements and livestock.

Again similarly, the bear shot in the Alps was well known as a part of a "problem family" in the Brenta, where the mother taught a whole line of her pups to associate humans with food.

The same area in Bavaria (Lamer Winkel) also was a sink for the local wild lynx population and the supporting breeding and release program run by the national park. Fortunately the bastard who trapped and shot the lynx was caught, found in possession of the missing radio collars, the ears cut off as trophies. Such a shame, but at least the guy will likely face prison!

Even though I will probably never see a lynx in the wild, hearing a male lynx howl (term?) on a silent, late winter night was a spectacular sound, even cooler than wolves!

CB


Tom V - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Moley:

Thanks for the information.

Is the American mink on the updated list? I can't see it in the original 37.
subtle on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to cb294:

Thanks for your informative post.

Have heard the call of the wolf, and seen young (black) bears in Canada, would love the hear the call of the wolf in Europe, at least got a realistic chance of that as people become more understanding
cb294 - on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to subtle:

Wolves and bears in Europe? No problem, just go to Northern Romania (Slovakia will do for bears)!

As for western Europe, I saw my first wolf in Germany a few years ago just a few km away of Dresden airport, chasing a group of deer across a snowy field. Unfortunately I was in a bus on the motorway, so could not stop and watch.

Wolf tracks and howling can be virtually guaranteed around any of the former Red Army firing ranges along the Polish border (e.g. Muskauer Heide), but seeing the beasts is tricky, and I had no luck so far! Rutting red deer, otters, white tailed eagles, cranes, even deer carcasses half eaten by wolves, everything but the wolves themselves...

CB
Moley on 13 Nov 2017
In reply to Tom V:

I don't think they are on the list, probably because in Europe they have the European mink, which is a naturalised species there, whereas in UK we have never had mink but now inherited the American version, which have hammered some of our wildlife, especially the water vole. Not 100% sure on this and could be wrong, but think it's the reason. For invasive species to go on the list they have to be a potential threat to all EU countries.
One thing we have noticed over the last 10 years is that the wild mink population seems to be declining in UK, don't know for sure why, but many believe that the resurgence in otter numbers is the reason, the otters either kill them or drive them out, they won't live together. So that is great news. Think mink also suffered from a virus, Aleutian virus, stuff on Wiki about it.

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