Dartmoor Zoo's runaway wild cat is now proud dad of two kits

A file pic of Carpathian Lynx kits
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

An infamous Carpathian lynx who once spent three weeks in the wild after escaping Dartmoor Zoo is enjoying being the proud dad of two kits only a few months after a new love match arrived at the zoo all the way from Germany. Flaviu’s new love interest Emily arrived from Karlsruhe Zoo on February 27.

Following a successful introduction a couple of weeks later, the pair became inseparable. The arrival of two kits was confirmed at the zoo on May 29 via squeaks accompanying the mother in their cubbing den and recent sightings as they begin to explore.

The kits are said to be settling in well but it will still be a while before visitors to the zoo get to see them. Their enclosure will be closed off to the public until further notice allowing the parents and kits alike to adjust. However, it is hoped they will be ready in time for viewing in the summer.

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Animal manager Madeleine Millin said: “Everyone at Dartmoor Zoo is elated at our newest arrivals. The keeper team will be monitoring Emily and Flaviu’s behaviour and welfare during this time while ensuring the parents and kits have space to adjust, explore and to feel safe and calm in their environment.

"The enclosure will remain off show to the public until further notice, so although they may be visible, we ask guests to remain calm and quiet around their enclosure until further notice.”

Kits are born blind and with their ears folded, heavily relying upon their parents until they begin to explore their environments after around a month.

Carpathian Lynx's Flaviu and Emily
Carpathian Lynx's Flaviu and Emily -Credit:Kira Butters

CEO David Gibson added: “We are absolutely thrilled with the birth of our Carpathian Lynx kits. This species is under severe threat across much of its home range in central Europe, so every captive born individual is extremely important for the future survival of the species. Our keepers will be monitoring both mum and kits closely over the next few weeks.”

Emily and Flaviu are Carpathian Lynx, a subspecies of Eurasian Lynx, the largest of all four species. The majority of this species can be found in Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine, whilst the population in Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria is scattered.

With a population of around 2,100 to 2,400, breeding and reintroduction programmes within zoos are said to be essential to stabilising and subsequently increasing these numbers.