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Campaign calls for zoo to close following death of second lynx

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IT HAS been revealed this morning (Nov 13) that a second Lynx has died at Borth Wild Animal Kingdom, prompting calls for the attraction to be closed.

The lynx, Nilly, died before a second escaped Lynx was shot by Ceredigion County Council on Friday (Nov 10).

The zoo said that a ‘handling error’ lead to the asphyxiation of the animal.

Lynx UK Trust have now started a campaign calling for the closure of the zoo.

The group said: “We are appalled to see the zoo attempting to court public sympathy for the loss of “our baby lynx” Lillith whilst attempting to cover up the circumstances of her escape and the death of the second lynx.”

In a statement, Borth Wild Animal Kingdom said: “It is with deep sadness and regret we announce the demise last week of Nilly, an adult female lynx, who was unrelated to Lillith but shared an enclosure. Over the past few weeks our staff have been under incredible pressure and when the authorities gave us 24-hour notice that they would be carrying out a full cat inspection we took the decision to move Nilly to a more suitable enclosure.

“Unfortunately, there seems to have been a terrible handling error where it seems she twisted in the catch-pole and became asphyxiated. An internal investigation is underway, and a key member of staff has been unable to work since the ordeal as they are truly devastated by what has happened. The authorities were notified after the incident and will be carrying out their own full investigation.

“When we took over this zoo less than six months ago we knew that there were serious issues with how some of the animals were housed. The lynx enclosure especially was not fit for purpose and certainly not up to modern zoo standards. One of the first things we did was put in a double door system so staff could safely gain access and segregate the animals to stop them from fighting. Plans are in place to build a whole new enclosure on the hill for the lynx which will give them all the individual space that they need.

“The zoo is now closed and will remain closed until further notice. This summer we have been working hard to make vast improvements, but it does seem to be that we are swimming against the tide. There are many serious issues with this establishment that need to be addressed before we go forward. Hopefully we can work with the authorities to bring this place up to code and create a home for these animals that is safe and secure.

“This is the only zoo in the county of Ceredigion and it would be a real loss to the area if this much-loved home for rescued exotic animals was not allowed to continue after refurbishment. We bought this place not to make money, but because we are animal lovers and could see that this place in this beautiful location needed some serious love and attention.”

A spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council said: “The Council is currently investigating a recent second incident regarding the death of a Lynx linked to Borth Wild Animal Kingdom which was brought to the Council’s attention the day after the animal had been inadvertently killed. Due to an ongoing investigation, we are unable to provide further comment.”

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Ceredigion Museum to reopen with a new exhibition

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CEREDIGION Museum in Aberystwyth is to reopen its doors to the public on August 12 after being closed due to the pandemic.

It will reopen with Human Threads; a stunning exhibition of historic quilts, with the addition of two new quilts – one digital and one physical – made by Ceredigion residents to record their experiences of the pandemic. 

Staff say they are excited to be reopening with a wonderful exhibition, having missed visitors and access to the museum for more than a year.

The museum will initially be open from Thursday to Saturday each week, from 11am until 4pm. 

Research by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions shows that 75% of respondents want visitor attractions to retain Covid-19 safety measures, so the museum has put in place a booking system to limit the numbers of visitors at any one time. There will also be lots of opportunities to sanitise hands and visitors will be asked to social distance and wear masks for the foreseeable future.

Initially, visitors will only have access to the shop and the first floor of the museum. As key café staff were redeployed into new jobs to support schools and care homes and they are still needed in these vital roles, the café won’t be reopening for the time being.

The museum shop, however, will be open and full of lovely new products, many designed especially for the quilt exhibition.

The website will have full details of the exhibition. People will be able to book their visit from August 5 at www.ceredigionmuseum.wales

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Llandeilo going for Fair Trade Status

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A NEW steering group has formed in Llandeilo to achieve Fair Trade status for the town.

“Many of our local shops and venues already stock or serve Fair Trade products and I believe Llandeilo deserves to be officially recognised for this,” says co-founder town councillor Christoph Fischer.

“It’s fantastic to see so many businesses and stakeholders committed to Fair Trade in Llandeilo,” says Candace Browne of Y Pantri Glas, Llandeilo’s Zero Waste and Natural Foods store. “However, for me Fair Trade extends beyond insuring workers growing imported exotic produce like bananas and chocolate are treated fairly but also to trading fairly with our local producers and sourcing good food locally. As Chair of Slow Food Cymru, Slow Food Town status with a shared vision of “Good Fair Food for All” would also be great for businesses to work towards for our community.”

The group, which has representatives of several businesses and interested individuals, are currently mapping all products that local shops, schools, groups and organisations offer and are lobbying the town council and other bodies to get behind the movement by declaring their own commitment to Fair Trade.

“As town councillor and as individual I feel this initiative fits perfectly well with the trend in town for fair trade,” says Fischer. “As Member Pioneer for the Llandeilo Coop part of my role is to initiate projects like this and bring all parts of the community together. We already had positive replies from Café 139, The Lighthouse, Heavenly, Ikigai, CK’s, Crown Stores, Umami and Llandeilo Primary.”

If you and your organisation want to commit to Fair Trade or are stocking Fair Trade products, please contact ChristophFFischer@googlemail.com

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RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat crew to be awarded for brave Ceredigion rescue

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THREE RNLI lifeguards from Ceredigion have been recognised with a bravery award for saving the lives of a man and his 10-year-old son. 

With assistance from Cardigan and New Quay RNLI lifeboats, the lifeguards rescued the two kayakers who were caught in a strong offshore wind and being swept out to sea. 

For their brave actions during the rescue, the three lifeguards are to receive the prestigious Alison Saunders award, which is awarded each year to recognise the skill and bravery of lifeguards.

The pair of kayakers were rescued at Tresaith last September, having capsized 800m offshore in strong winds and bad sea conditions. Seasonal RNLI Supervisor Sam Bailey and RNLI Lifeguard Macsen Mather demonstrated remarkable courage and selflessness in entering the water, in the full knowledge that they would not be able to return to the shore unassisted, due to the wind and sea state. They were well aware they would be spending a prolonged period of time in the water in cold conditions.

Senior Lifeguard Lowri Davies remained ashore to co-ordinate the rescue with HM Coastguard, who requested that both New Quay all-weather lifeboat and Cardigan inshore RNLI lifeboat launch to support the lifeguards. Despite it being her first season as a senior lifeguard, Lowri executed her role with confidence and assurance, managing communications between lifeguards, lifeboats, and HM Coastguard, and offering reassurance to her colleagues in the water throughout the rescue. 

Having reached the kayakers, Sam and Macsen used their rescue boards to secure the casualties out of the water in order to keep them safe until the lifeboats arrived to recover the whole group.

By the time New Quay and Cardigan lifeboats arrived at Tresaith, the group had drifted over 1.5 miles out to sea. Cardigan RNLI volunteer crew transported the group to shore where the casualties received further medical attention from HM Coastguard for the effects of the cold. Both lifeboat crews will receive a letter from the RNLI’s Chairman for their part in the rescue. 

Roger Smith, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager says: “This rescue was a superb team effort, with RNLI lifeboat crews launching in direct support of their lifeguard colleagues. We are massively proud of our lifeguards, who showed great bravery and resolve during this rescue. They entered the water to save lives, in the full knowledge that they would be unable to return to shore unaided, trusting our lifeboats to back them up. The awards recognise their collective courage and professionalism. Working together, our team saved two people from drowning that day.”

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