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German tourist attacked by lynx

A protected species, the lynx is spreading across Switzerland

(Keystone Archive)

A wild lynx has attacked and injured a German tourist near Sion in canton Valais. The man was admitted to hospital with serious injuries to his left arm.

The Valais authorities said on Friday that the man had been walking in the Agettes region when the lynx leapt out of a tree on top of him. The man was injured as he tried to protect himself.

He had to be treated for four separate wounds to his arm.

According to the authorities, there is no doubt that the animal responsible for the attack was a lynx. A search of the area uncovered several sets of tracks made by a large cat.

"The animal responsible for this attack resembled a cat, but was the size of the average dog," the authorities said in a statement. "Fawn in colour, it had a black-tipped tail 10-12 centimetres long and tufted ears."

Animal behaviour experts said it wasn't in the nature of the lynx, or wild mountain cat, to attack humans. They said that in this case the animal concerned was probably young and motherless and in search of food.

The lynx was successfully reintroduced to western Switzerland 30 years ago. But opposition to the animal has been growing in the past few years as lynx numbers increase and they spread to other areas.

Although protected by law, at least 40 lynx have been killed in Switzerland by hunters and farmers.

swissinfo with agencies


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