Borth Wild Animal Kingdom has a runner. She’s sleek and furry, and goes by a single moniker: ‘Lilleth.’
According to the U.K. zoo’s Facebook page, the Eurasian Lynx escaped from its enclosure at the animal establishment in Ceredigion, Wales. She is described as “a young juvenile, tan and white in colour with dark spots on her back and legs. She is about twice the size of a domestic cat with black tufts on her ears. Her most distinctive feature is her thick, stubby tail which is no more than six inches long.”
Police told the BBC the large feline went AWOL sometime in the past five days, but was officially marked as missing on Sunday. Police helicopters are surveying the nearby area, but stated that were was no “general danger” to the public.
That said, the zoo’s Facebook post warns not to approach her: “Phone the police or contact the zoo straight away. We have fully-trained keepers on hand to deal with the situation … There have never been any recorded attacks of a Lynx on a human, but they are a wild animal with sharp teeth and claws and will attack if cornered or trapped.”
Tracy Tweedy, one of the zoo’s owners, tells the BBC, “She’s done this before, hidden herself away when she’s been slightly injured, and when she’s feeling better she comes out.”
“On Friday and Saturday we were filming to see if we could spot her and and when we couldn’t spot her on film we thought the worst, that she had died,” said Tweedy.
A staff member added that they’ve put camera traps around the perimeter of the zoo, hoping that public sightings will lead to her location and eventually allow for a trail pattern to emerge. At that point, the zoo plans to set up monitored traps in order to catch her.
A Sunday Facebook update noted there had been two confirmed sightings of Lilleth so far, at least one on a nearby hill, indicating she’s still in close proximity to Borth Wild Animal Kingdom.
“The park will be open today as normal as Lilleth poses very little threat to the public,” the post states. “For obvious reasons night tours are cancelled until further notice.”
Lynx U.K. Trust‘s Chief Scientific Advisor to Charity, Dr. Paul O’Donoghue, told the BBC that “a zoo lynx is not a wild lynx” since it was raised by people. The charity has been trying to reintroduce the wild lynx to the region for years.
In comparison to lynxes, “there are far more dangerous dogs around in Wales,” said O’Donoghue.