A council which had an escaped Eurasian lynx shot dead by a marksman has defended its decision to have the young animal killed.
Ceredigion Council said it sought expert advice before ordering lethal force to be used on Friday to destroy 18-month-old Lillith, who was twice the size of a domestic cat.
She escaped from Borth Wild Animal Kingdom near Aberystwyth on October 29 and the park on Saturday criticised the shooting, saying it was "devastated and outraged".
In a statement late on Sunday, the council said Lillith was "not afraid of humans" and had entered a populated area, and the shooting had been approved by the police, Welsh government and chief veterinary officer for Wales.
A council spokeswoman said: "It was not possible to assess the condition or temperament of the lynx but there were concerns about its likely behavioural response if it was startled or inadvertently confronted by a member of the public, especially by a young child.
"It must be remembered that the lynx is classified in legislation as 'dangerous and wild' and the authorities were dealing with an unmanaged escape situation."
Using a tranquiliser instead was "specifically discussed", she added, but because of the terrain and vegetation in the area they were told it was "not an option".
She continued: "On other occasions and in different circumstances it may be fitting to attempt to tranquilise an escaped animal but, based on the factors involved with this incident, it was decided that it was not appropriate."
The council also said it had launched an investigation into Lillith's escape "to establish whether there have been any breaches of the operating licence and other related matters".
The decision had also been the subject of much criticism online when the shooting was announced.
The park had earlier said there have never been any recorded attacks by a lynx on a human, but officials had warned that they were wild animals with sharp teeth and claws and "will attack if cornered or trapped".
On Saturday the park said it had been "pressured from the start to allow marksmen to hunt her with live ammo" while using traps and lures to get her back.
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 about six miles from Aberystwyth.
The animal park said a chance to recapture Lillith two days ago as she slept under a caravan in a closed holiday park was missed after a council official slipped and fell over while getting closer to take a picture.
"When we got there the caravan was boarded in on three sides with decking and all we had to do was sling a net across the back and we would have had her trapped," a park spokesman said on Saturday.
"Unfortunately, one of the officials insisted that he needed to photograph her and make a positive ID before we were allowed close.
"He slipped and fell going up the bank which startled her, causing her to run past him and off across the fields.
"After a fruitless search we were informed that due to her being in a heavily-populated area they would be issuing a shoot-to-kill order and we had run out of time.
"We made one final effort yesterday to lay traps for her and we were out all day looking for her with catch nets, but the shocking call came in late last night that they had killed her.
"In just 24 hours they had called in marksmen who had used state-of-the-art night scopes and thermal imaging cameras to hunt her down and shoot her dead.
"To say we were devastated was an understatement."