A council which ordered an escaped Eurasian lynx to be shot dead by a marksman has defended its decision.
Ceredigion council said it sought expert advice before ordering Lilleth be ‘humanely destroyed’ on Friday.
She escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, near Aberystwyth, three weeks ago and on Saturday the zoo’s owners said they were “outraged”.
Meanwhile, Dyfed-Powys Police said it was investigating threats against the marksman.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the council said Lilleth was “not afraid of humans” and had entered a populated area.
They said that the shooting had been approved beforehand by the police, the Welsh government and the chief veterinary officer for Wales.
A council spokeswoman said: “It was not possible to assess the condition or temperament of the lynx but there were concerns about its likely behavioural response if it was startled or inadvertently confronted by a member of the public, especially by a young child.
“It must be remembered that the lynx is classified in legislation as ‘dangerous and wild’ and the authorities were dealing with an unmanaged escape situation.”
She added that using a tranquiliser instead was “specifically discussed” but the terrain and vegetation in the area meant they were told it was “not an option”.
She said: “On other occasions and in different circumstances it may be fitting to attempt to tranquilise an escaped animal but, based on the factors involved with this incident, it was decided that it was not appropriate.”
The council has been investigating the animal’s escape “to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence and other related matters”.
She is believed to have escaped after making a “giant leap” over an electrified fence.
There had been a number of sightings but she evaded capture and was at one point thought to be hiding in bushes near the zoo.
Ceredigion council and Dyfed-Powys Police said they had tried a “range of measures” to capture the Lynx, including baited traps.
The local authority has previously said it would carry out an inspection of the zoo later this month.