Dartmoor Lynx recaptured after three weeks on run

Flaviu the lynx Image copyright Dartmoor Zoo
Image caption Flaviu was found after walking into a humane trap and is now back at the zoo

A lynx that escaped from Dartmoor Zoo in Devon has been captured - after more than three weeks on the run.

The police had warned that the cat, named Flaviu, could be dangerous if cornered.

The Carpathian lynx, the size of a large domestic cat, was found after walking into a humane trap and is now back at the zoo.

Zoo owner Ben Mee told BBC Radio Devon it was "a huge relief" to have got the animal back.

He said that they had been "living in the hope" that he would wander into a trap looking for food.

Image copyright Dartmoor Zoo
Image caption Flaviu the Carpathian Lynx was captured by walking into a humane trap

"I've been speaking to lynx trackers all around the world and I was getting more confident that he would end up doing this but the timescale was the thing that worried me. They said it could be a week or six weeks or six months."

Flaviu was trapped about a quarter of a mile away from the zoo in woods at Hemerdon.

'Very irritated lynx'

Thirty members of staff and volunteers began combing the zoo but found no trace of the animal, concluding that he had left the park.

Search teams were organised in the local area, while 25 humane traps were baited with various types of meat.

Head tracker Andrew Goatman set a trap where Flaviu had killed a lamb said Mr Mee.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The zoo lost the animal the day after it was delivered

"The farmer moved the sheep away from the area and Andrew set the trap using veal, knowing that Flaviu would return to the scene of the kill," he said.

"When we came back we found a very irritated lynx."

Mr Mee said he now wanted to find a female lynx to keep Flaviu company.

"He's at the right age, so that's the next priority," he said.

"We have also taken extra precautions to prevent another escape by putting a roof on the lynx enclosure."

Devon and Cornwall Police had previously used thermal imaging cameras to assist with the search.

Dartmoor Zoo took delivery of the animal on 6 July from Port Lympne wildlife park in Kent but it escaped the next day.

It is the third escape from the zoo after a jaguar got loose from a pen and into a tigers' enclosure in 2006 before it was sedated by keepers.

In 2007 a wolf clambered over the top of its enclosure before being recaptured.

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