Big cats require GPS tracking, says group after Lynx escape – BBC News

Image copyright Dave Rolfe/ Port Lympne Reserve
Image caption The group has called for all big cats in captivity to be implanted with GPS trackable microchips

An animal group has called for all big cats in captivity to be fitted with GPS trackers after a lynx escaped from a zoo and went on the run for three weeks.

The British Big Cats Society, which studies big cats in the UK, said it wanted the government to make it a reporting requirement in the UK.

Flaviu the lynx fleeing from Dartmoor Zoo and was later caught in July.

Founder of the BBCS Danny Bamping said the escape had “raised several issues”.

“If Flaviu the Carpathian lynx had been microchipped with a GPS trackable implant then it would have been probably caught within 23 hours and not 23 days”, Mr Bamping said.

“Devon residents and police should be thankful “that its not” ‘proper’ big cat that escaped such as a leopard, tiger, jaguar or lion.”

Image copyright Dartmoor Zoo
Image caption Flaviu was on the run for three weeks in July

Dartmoor Zoo owner Ben Mee said all the animals were already microchipped but adding a GPS tracking element may not be suitable for zoo based animals.

“I think it’s a great idea if the technology exists that’s small enough to broadcast a reliable signal that doesn’t harm the animal, that would be fantastic”, he said.

But he said the current GPS tracking devices used on big cats in the wild would be an “encumbrance” for animals in a zoo.

“I think it’s uncomfortable and unsightly for the animal, and a health risk”, Mr Mee said.

He stressed that animal escapes from zoos were “phenomenally rare”.

The UK animal welfare charity, Four Paws, said it welcomed any extra measures to “improve the ability of zoos and relevant authorities to respond effectively and humanely when animals do escape”.

Image copyright Dartmoor Zoo
Image caption Flaviu is now back at Dartmoor Zoo after being caught in a humane trap

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