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07/07/2016, 17:00

Lynx escapes from Dartmoor Zoo

A lynx has escaped from a zoo in Devon and is on the loose as keepers have warned it could attack 'if alarmed or cornered'.

Dartmoor Zoo only took delivery of the animal last night but this morning discovered that it had dug its way out of the enclosure.

Thirty staff and volunteers have searched the zoo and concluded it has managed to escape from the grounds. 

Police are on site and a helicopter is combing the area while children in a local nursery are being kept inside. 

Hunt: Dartmoor Zoo (pictured) only took delivery of the animal last night but this morning discovered that it had dug its way out of the enclosure

Police are on site and a helicopter is combing the area while children in a local nursery are being kept inside.

A lynx is bigger than a domestic cat but smaller than a lion and is predominantly grey with brown flecks.

The lynx is Europe's largest wild feline and is sometimes known as the tiger of the north.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said today: 'Police were informed at 10.20am this morning that a lynx had escaped it's enclosure in Dartmoor Zoological Park.

'Staff and volunteers have been searching the park and the animal is now thought to have left the grounds.

'The lynx is a wild cat approximately the size of a large domestic cat and is grey/silver in colour.

'If members of the public sight it they should call 999 immediately quoting log 252 of 7 July 2016.

'The animal should not be approached as it could become dangerous if alarmed or cornered.

'Officers have visited two local schools to offer safety advice and reassurance.

'All children at All Saints Primary School are not in school as they are away on a field trip.

'Police are also working with staff at Little Orchard Montessori School to make sure they are kept inside.

'Officers are also going house to house in the area to offer advice and are assisting with the search on the ground.

'The National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter has been deployed to assist with the search of the boundaries of the zoological park.'

Lynx-hunt: Police and zoo staff are all hunting for the escaped lynx near the zoo, which sits on Dartmoor close to Plymouth

Dartmoor Zoo identified the animal as a Carpathian lynx, which are native to the Carpathian Mountains of Central Europe.

They are among the biggest species of lynx, ranging in length from 80 to 130 cm (31 to 51 in) and standing 60-75 cm (24-30 in) at the shoulder.

Males weigh up to 30 kg and females up to 21 kg.

They are secretive animals and because the sounds they make are very quiet and seldom heard, their presence in an area may go unnoticed for years.

Remnants of prey or tracks on snow are usually observed long before the animal is seen. 

Dartmoor Zoo is owned by Benjamin Mee the author of We Bought A Zoo the bestselling book that inspired the Hollywood movie of the same name starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

He bought it with wife Katherine who later died of a brain tumour.

On Thursday John Nolan owner of nearby Sparkwell Golf Course said it was business as usual despite a lynx being on the loose in the area.

He said: 'Animals do like the golf course but we haven't seen anything yet.

'I expect it's more frightened of us than we are of it. The golfers have their clubs if it does come near.'

Visitors who were hoping to go to Dartmoor Zoo went to the golf course and Welbeck Manor for coffee while the zoo is closed, Mr Nolan said. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk 

 

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