We’re now entering day seven of the effort to recover our missing lynx, Flaviu. Since he escaped from his house overnight last Wednesday, we’ve been working around the clock to ensure his safe recovery.
In the early stages of the operation, this involved over 30 staff and volunteers dealing with intense media interest, evaluating reports of possible sightings, deploying humane traps and patrolling the area through the night.
Based on what we know of the animal’s behavioural characteristics, coupled with reports from landowners, we were able to establish his location within hours of the escape. Whilst deploying the humane traps we were delighted to get firm confirmation by means of a positive sighting of Flaviu by one of our staff.
The key to a successful recovery at this stage is to allow Flaviu to settle in his new territory and ensure that human activity in the area is kept to an absolute minimum. To this end we have reduced the active team from over 30 people to just four.
We have also deployed a number of day and night vision cameras throughout the territory. These will enable us to confirm our assumptions about his movements and behaviour and identify opportunities to increase the chances of a safe recovery.
We’ve also taken steps to provide Flaviu with reasons to remain in the area. These include ensuring that there are small amounts of food available outside the humane traps and playing audio recordings of other lynx. We’re also considering using his mother’s scent from bedding obtained from Port Lympne to provide him with some reassuring and familiar smells.
Some people have expressed concern that Flaviu has been separated from his mother and have questioned the ethics of doing so.
We can fully understand how the implications of separating the mother/child bond would inspire feelings of anxiety in people; some have assumed that his escape was an attempt to get back to his mother. However, with regard to animals, and the lynx in particular, the opposite is actually true.
Flaviu is a two year old male approaching sexual maturity. It is at this age, and often earlier, that we would expect him to be leaving the immediate care of his parents and setting off to establish a territory of his own. In the wild, there would be no further contact with the parents and any close proximity might well lead to territorial conflict.
Throughout this operation we have been in close contact with the keepers at Port Lympne who are of course very familiar with Flaviu and his mum Klementyna.
They have assured us that while mum and dad were very patient caring parents they are likely pleased that he has now moved on.
Having created the best possible circumstances for a safe recovery the team here are now playing the waiting game. It remains a round-the-clock operation and everyone here is dedicated to ensuring that Flaviu returns safe and sound.