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Thousands demand zoo’s closure after death of two lynxes

WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS

Thousands demand zoo's closure after death of two lynxes

Nilly the lynx choked to death after a ‘terrible handling error’ (Picture: SWNS)

Thousands of people are calling for a zoo to close after two lynxes were killed within days of each other.

Nilly the lynx choked to death in a ‘terrible handling error’ at Birth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth, in Wales, last week.

It happened just days after Lillith, an 18-month-old Eurasian lynx, was killed by hunters after it escaped in October.

The zoo said it was ‘devastated and outraged’ after Ceredigion Council ordered Lillith to be killed as it was getting too close to humans.

But of a group lynx conservationists are firmly putting the blame on the zoo’s shoulders and are calling for its closure.

Thousands demand zoo's closure after death of two lynxes

Lilith was on the run for nearly two weeks before she was shot dead by hunters (Picture: PA)

The Lynx UK Trust’s petition has found support from 7,400 people in just two days.

The conservationists say most ‘hobby zoos’ like Borth are run by ‘inexperienced owners’ that do not ‘meet basic animal welfare standards’ or provide any ‘benefit to conservation or education’.

The petition says the zoo cares for a crocodile, two lions and a leopard, which it claims almost escaped a few years ago when its cage door was left open.

Addressing the petition to Ceredigion Council, the conservationists urged the local authority to ‘instantly remove their operating license’.

They also offered to rehome the zoo’s remaining lynxes at a remote rescue centre in Wales, where they can be cared for by ‘experts in wild felines’.

Thousands demand zoo's closure after death of two lynxes

Seven sheep are believed to have been killed by the escaped lynx (Picture: PA)

In a statement, the zoo said it was ‘closed until further notice’ and that it is investigating Nilly’s death.

The zoo said it knew there were ‘serious issues’ with the animal enclosures when it took over six months ago.

It also said plans are in place to build a new enclosure for its remaining lynx population.

The zoo said: ‘This summer we have been working hard to make vast improvements, but it does seem to be that we are swimming against the tide.

‘There are many serious issues with this establishment that need to be addressed before we go forward.

Thousands demand zoo's closure after death of two lynxes

‘Hopefully we can work with the authorities to bring this place up to code and create a home for these animals that is safe and secure.’

Those showing the petition support said the ‘animals deserve a better life’ and should be sent ‘back to their natural environment’.

A supporter wrote: ‘The remaining lynx needs to be with people who can provide specialist care. They are not for entertainment.’

Another said: ‘Zoos need to be run by enthusiastic experts, not just enthusiasts. Animals deserve a better life than just a display piece.’

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