An animal park in Wales says it is "devastated and outraged" after a young Eurasian lynx which escaped last month was shot dead on the orders of the local council.
Lillith, who was one-and-a-half years old and twice the size of a domestic cat, had been missing from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth since October 29.
It said that the animal did not pose a threat to humans but Ceredigion Council announced she had been killed after she "strayed over to a populated area of the community".
In a statement posted on its Facebook page today, an animal park spokesman said: "I would like to make it clear to everyone ... that the decision to kill her was not ours and we in no way agreed to or participated in the shooting of our baby Lynx.
"We are truly devastated and outraged that this happened."
There were several sightings of the cat during an operation by keepers, assisted at times by a police helicopter, to return the animal to the park around six miles from Aberystwyth.
However Ceredigion Council said the decision had been taken to humanely destroy the wild animal after the risk it posed to the public increased "to severe" following failed attempts to recapture it.
A statement shared by Aberystwyth central councillor Ceredig Davies on Facebook said: "It is with deep regret that Ceredigion County Council reports on the humane destruction of the Eurasian Lynx that recently escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom.
"Despite exhaustive multi agency efforts to recapture the class A animal, the multi-agency group responding to the incident received additional advice late on Friday afternoon, 10 November, from a specialist veterinary surgeon that the risk to public well-being had increased from moderate to severe due to the continued failure of the Wild Animal Kingdom to recapture the Lynx.
"The safety of the public was paramount and therefore once the Lynx had strayed over to a populated area of the community it was necessary to act decisively."
If you cannot see the Facebook post above, click here.
According to the park there have never been any recorded attacks by a lynx on a human, but officials warned that they were wild animals with sharp teeth and claws and "will attack if cornered or trapped".
Dozens of people replied to Mr Davies's post expressing their outrage at the decision to kill the animal.
One wrote: "Question: if it was in close enough range to be killed, why could it not have been shot with a sedative?"
Another said: "Other countries can tranquillise big cats & other wildlife, capture and move them to another location away from populated areas. Shame on Ceredigion."