Report from Nick Wirsten
THERE has been a glimmer of hope this week with several sightings of the lynx
missing from a Kirkcudbright wildlife park.
The lynx, which went missing more than two weeks ago, has been spotted on several occasions in the Barrhill woods area and also in the Mutehill area.
Concern has been growing after reports of people seen in the woods with air rifles, apparently in an attempt to shoot the animal.
Director of Galloway Wildlife Conservation Park, John Denerley, urged people not to do this as they risked frightening the lynx which could lead to it becoming dangerous.
Police said they had not received any formal reports of this behaviour but urged people to contact them directly if they saw the animal.
Sergeant David Blacklock said they had contingency plans in place to capture the animal with the help of a vet if they could.
He said: "If anyone sees the animal I wold urge them to call us or the wildlife park. It has been spotted on several occasions, and sometimes two or three times a night, and each time we go out and try and capture it, but so far with no success. We need people to let us know where it is so we can establish a pattern of its movements."
Mr Denerley said they had traps in place in the woods and they were moving them regularly to try and capture it.
He said: "I am however very concerned if there are people going into the woods with air rifles. This is also dangerous if children are in the woods. It would also be worse if the animal was shot as it could defend itself vigorously."
He said the animal would normally feed on rodents such as rats, hares and small deer and the longer it remains in the wild it will be getting more used to it.
He said that the lynx was also an expert at catching birds.
He added: "They are renowned for their expert ability to catch birds, leaping high into the air and hitting the bird with their paw. On rare occasions they have been spotted catching food up in trees. They are also more active at night."
He said in the winter however it would be likely to be seen hunting during the day and perhaps hiding in disused burrows or rock crevices.
He made a further plea to the public: "If you see the animal, please report it to the police or contact us immediately. Please do not try to shoot the animal, otherwise she may pose a danger."
The wildlife park can be contacted n (01557) 331645.
Galloway News, 13 th December 2002
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