Seven sheep have been killed by a lynx in Wales.

The captive Eurasian lynx escaped from Borth Zoo, Aberystwyth almost a week ago and after several days in the wild, it killed seven sheep in one attack.

This is the same species proposed by Lynx UK Trust in its release application that is being considered by Natural England

The National Sheep Association (NSA) understands that the cause of death was determined by post-mortem conducted by Welsh government officials which confirmed a single bite to the neck and subsequent internal bleeding. NSA understands two sheep were partly eaten, while the remaining five appeared to be killed purely out of instinct.

Phil Stocker, NSA chief executive, said: “There cannot be a clearer warning of the damage lynx will do if they are released into the wild. And at a time when Lynx UK Trust’s application to release lynx into Kielder Forest, Northumberland is under review from Natural England, it could not be more timely.

“Lynx UK Trust continue to assure us that lynx, on average, will take just 0.4 sheep annually. A fact which is simply unbelievable given the damage just one has inflicted after several days of roaming free. This incident also backs up what we are hearing from a number of sheep farmers in Scandanavia and other parts of Europe who tell us of high losses they’ve experienced from individual lynx that develop the behavioural characteristic of an opportunistic hunter.”

NSA’s expressed sympathy for the farmer involved and commended them for supporting the zoo owners as they continue to try to capture the animal.

Mr Stocker continued: “The risk lynx pose to sheep, and the subsequent anxiety which would be suffered by sheep farmers if they were released is clear, but NSA’s concerns reach far wider than that. Through their normal work, sheep farmers are continually supporting wildlife and grassland ecology and this valuable activity could be undermined if a lynx release were to go ahead.”

NSA has received assurances from Natural England that it will work closely with Scottish government in considering Lynx UK Trust’s application, but it feels this level of collaboration should go even further.

Mr Stocker concluded: “The fact this attack has happened in Wales raises questions around the land mass similarity between that in the proposed release site of Kielder Forest and the area of Wales this incident took place. If the release goes ahead and the population expands in the way it is intended, the species could find its way into Wales years into the future without any consultation ever taking place there. For that reason, NSA believes approval should be sought from the relevant bodies in England, Scotland and Wales before any decision is reached.”