Swiss gamekeepers have had to put down a badly injured Eurasian lynx that was hurt during efforts to catch him. The animal was supposed to start a new life in a country with too few lynx.
The authorities of the canton Appenzell Outer Rhodes announced on Tuesday that the lynx died on Sunday, a few hours after people noticed the unwell animal crouching in a woodshed at the edge of a small town called Gais.
The lynx was malnourished and his wounded forepaw still had parts of the snare on it. It was the same animal that hunting authorities in neighbouring canton St Gallen had tried to catch in mid-March as part of an international resettlement project.
Despite search efforts with a canine team, the hunters were unable to find the lynx.
“Apparently the lynx was injured so badly in the escape that he couldn’t hunt properly afterwards, so he had to be shot,” explained the statement from the Appenzell authoritiesexternal link.
The Centre for Fish and Wildlife Medicineexternal link in Bern is examining the corpse, and the incident is under investigation.
Formerly extinct in Switzerland, the Swiss lynx population has made an impressive recovery over the past 40 years. The current population is estimated at about 300 animals – enough that Switzerland is able to share some of its big cats with Italy, Austria and Germany.