It is with deep sadness and regret we announce the demise last week of Nilly, an adult female lynx, who was unrelated to Lillith but shared an enclosure. Over the past few weeks our staff have been under incredible pressure and when the authorities gave us 24-hour notice that they would be carrying out a full cat inspection we took the decision to move Nilly to a more suitable enclosure. Unfortunately, there seems to have been a terrible handling error where it seems she twisted in the catch-pole and became asphyxiated. An internal investigation is underway, and a key member of staff has been unable to work since the ordeal as they are truly devastated by what has happened. The authorities were notified after the incident and will be carrying out their own full investigation.
When we took over this zoo less than six months ago we knew that there were serious issues with how some of the animals were housed. The lynx enclosure especially was not fit for purpose and certainly not up to modern zoo standards. One of the first things we did was put in a double door system so staff could safely gain access and segregate the animals to stop them from fighting. Plans are in place to build a whole new enclosure on the hill for the lynx which will give them all the individual space that they need.
The zoo is now closed and will remain closed until further notice. 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. 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. This is the only zoo in the county of Ceredigion and it would be a real loss to the area if this much-loved home for rescued exotic animals was not allowed to continue after refurbishment. We bought this place not to make money, but because we are animal lovers and could see that this place in this beautiful location needed some serious love and attention.
We are truly devastated by the hunting and killing of Lillith last night. For the past three weeks we have been tracking and attempting to catch her in a safe way. We have employed 24-hour, on-site help from expert trackers and animal recovery specialists who have been aiding us in our efforts, but she proved to be quite elusive. We have spared no expense or effort in our search.
The only options available to us were live catching with nets or luring her into one of the many bait traps that we built and placed in areas she was frequenting. The authorities lent us one bait trap (that was too small) and a few camera traps to aid us in our search. All other help we either employed ourselves or was offered freely by friends and members of the public.
Initially Lillith escaped to the hill behind the zoo and then moved across the bog to a remote, dense woodland. We were advised by the government appointed vet that darting was not possible due to the terrain. We had been pressured from the start to allow marksmen to hunt her with live ammo, but we categorically refused that option. All the time she remained in the woods we could argue that she was a danger to no-one and we fought for more time to capture her alive.
Two days ago, in the early evening we had a call saying that Lillith had been spotted less than a mile away at a local caravan park. The park was closed and empty for the winter period and Lillith was discovered asleep under one of the caravans. When the call came in we were in the middle of a council inspection and the council officials insisted on accompanying us to the location where she was seen. When we got there the caravan was boarded in on three sides with decking and all we had to do was sling a net across the back and we would have had her trapped. Unfortunately, one of the officials insisted that he needed to photograph her and make a positive ID before we were allowed close. He slipped and fell going up the bank which startled her causing her to run past him and off across the fields.
After a fruitless search we were informed that due to her being in a heavily populated area they would be issuing a shoot to kill order and we had run out of time. We made one final effort yesterday to lay traps for her and we were out all day looking for her with catch nets, but the shocking call came in late last night that they had killed her. In just 24 hours they had called in marksmen who had used state-of-the-art night scopes and thermal imaging cameras to hunt her down and shoot her dead. To say we were devastated was an understatement.
The zoo will remain closed until further notice. When we took over this business just six months ago we knew it was in a terrible state. It had been neglected and run down for quite a while with many of the enclosures rotting and not fit for purpose. I think the previous owners had lost heart with the place and had stopped investing in improvements which is why they wanted to sell it. It’s quite an unusual place as it takes in many animals that would not be accepted elsewhere. Many of the animals are rescued from the animal trade or are exotic pets that the owner cannot look after any more.
It is our intention to reopen after inspection and carry on the work here to give these animals the decent home that they so richly deserve with new enclosures and better amenities. We would like to thank the many people of Borth who have supported our efforts and all the words of encouragement from people far and wide.
Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with the latest news at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom: https://www.facebook.com/BorthZoo/