A plan to recover Flaviu, the Dartmoor Zoo's missing lynx, is underway this weekend. The keepers at the zoo found that the two-year old Carpathian lynx had squeezing through a six-by-four inch hole he chewed in the wall of his house after arriving at the zoo from Port Lympne in Kent on Wednesday. The zoo has already set out a few traps in the region with meat bait catch the feline.
Zoo staff and volunteers have also panned to form a human chain around the area of farmland where the medium-sized wild cat is thought to be and attempt to close it in. A vet is also on-site to administer a tranquilizer dart in the case they come across the cat. Police have said that the lynx, which will usually try to avoid contact with people, "could be dangerous if alarmed or concerned".
A drone camera with thermal imaging technology is being used in the ongoing hunt, which is continuing despite reports the cat had been run over and killed.
On Thursday, 7 July, a distressed woman reportedly called police to report that she had run over the lynx on the A38. The tearful woman said the animal had died instantly when hit by her car and that it was lying "flat" in the road, according to the Plymouth Herald. [Link includes graphic imagery].
The report has been dismissed by zoo workers, who said that it was unlikely that the animal had traveled such a distance from the park.
George Hyde, operations manager at Dartmoor Zoo, said Flaviu is a wild animal but captive bred, meaning that he has never hunted and has never killed for food, and that he is likely "very scared and anxious".
"He'll be much more likely to stay away from people and to stay hidden," he added.
Carpathian lynx, a critically-endangered species, are solitary animals and are usually found in the forests of Europe and Siberia where they feed on animals such as deer, hares, rabbits, rodents and grouse. The Eurasian lynx was once native to the British Isles, but was killed off around 700AD. The Lynx UK Trust is dedicated to reintroducing the predatory cat to the British countryside, but so far efforts have been blocked.