Three lynx kittens that were seen around Anchorage, Alaska, were euthanized after their mother was killed and there was confusion about finding a home for them.
The mother and kittens had been seen for weeks in south Anchorage.
At some point, the mother and one of the kittens were shot by a homeowner defending chickens, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Alaska’s News Source reported that the three remaining lynx regularly returned to the neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, a woman reported an encounter between her dog and two of the kittens. The department captured all three lynx and later euthanized them.
Ryan Scott, assistant director of the department’s wildlife conservation division, said he thought the Alaska Zoo had earlier expressed interest in accepting more lynx.
But Pat Lampi, the zoo director, said when the department contacted him Tuesday, he said the zoo didn’t have space to permanently keep the kittens but was willing to hold them until a new home could be found.
Lampi said he called around and found a possible home out of state but was told the animals had been euthanized when he reached out again to the department.
Scott said the action was taken because a definitive placement wasn’t identified. He said he was unaware that Lampi was making calls.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had plenty of cases where we thought we had it sorted out and it falls through at the last minute,” Scott said.
Scott said the agency has had reservations about placing lynx out of state because of disease concerns. He also said the kittens were unlikely to survive on their own.