Report from Chris Smith
A LYNX which escaped from a wildlife park in Dumfries and Galloway was yesterday believed to have stayed clear of towns and villages and headed for forest areas near Kirkcudbright.
The animal, which is not considered dangerous unless cornered, was found missing from Kirkcudbright Wildlife Park yesterday morning. Members of the public have been asked to report any sightings of the animal, which is about the same size as a Labrador dog, but were advised not to approach it or attempt to capture it.
Police said the animal, described as fawn in colour with black tufts at its ears, went missing between 10am on Monday and the same time yesterday.
Les Ward, director of Advocates for Animals, an animal protection organisation, said yesterday that he feared the animal would starve to death within two weeks in the wild unless it killed prey, such as rabbits or hares, or scavenged food.
He said: "I would imagine that it will be spotted as it is bound to start looking for food sooner or later.
"If it is not caught within a couple of weeks it will be looking for something to eat, like the meat of smaller animals like hares. If it does not get anything to eat then it could be in difficulty."
McQueen, a wild boar named after Steve McQueen, star of The Great Escape second world war epic, escaped from an abattoir and went into hiding in a wood near Dunblane in August and has never been sighted since.
Mr Ward added: "The lynx is a very fast-moving animal. McQueen the pig has never been sighted and that was in a wooded area where people walk their dogs. So this will be even more difficult.
"If the animal is hungry I don't think he will be more dangerous. He's more likely just to be frightened and will run from anyone trying to catch him."
The lynx is a bobtailed cat which inhabits dense forested areas in North America and other parts of the world. Those living in the wild can travel 40 to 50 miles to find favourable hunting grounds.
They can weigh up to 40lbs and can live as long as 12 or 13 years. The chief factor contributing to death is lack of nutrition. Any sightings of the lynx should be reported to the police at Kirkcudbright on 01557 330600 or at any police station.
A sulphur crested cockatoo was yesterday stolen from its home in a glasshouse at Queen's Park Winter Gardens in Glasgow.
The cockatoo, called Snowie, was discovered to have been stolen at about 1pm.
Ian Smith, manager of the glasshouse, said: "Everyone at the park is concerned for Snowie's safety." The bird is about nine inches tall and has white plumage with a pale yellow crest on its head.
The Herald, 27 th November 2002
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