Missing Washington bobcat found in zoo after three-day search

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2017 3:18 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 25-pound (11-kg) female bobcat who escaped from her enclosure at the Washington Zoo, was found on Wednesday, just hours after zoo officials called off a three-day-search for the missing feline, zoo officials said.

"Female Bobcat Ollie found on Zoo property," the zoo said on Twitter, with a picture that showed handlers with her in a cage. Ollie, who was born in the wild, went missing on Monday after likely climbing through a hole in the mesh net that surrounds her enclosure.

The zoo, one of the top tourist draws in the U.S. capital, had canceled the search for Ollie on Wednesday and said it would rely on tips to find her.

The zoo had received several reports from people who said they had seen the bobcat, who is thought to be almost 7 years old, in nearby residential areas.

The zoo had warned people against approaching the animal, although bobcats are not known to be aggressive to humans.

Bobcats, which are similar to lynxes, range from Mexico to southern Canada and can run up to 30 miles per hour (48 kph). They are 1.5 to 2 feet (46 to 64 cm) tall at the shoulder and their fur is buff to brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge, according to the zoo's website.

Officials at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, almost 200 miles (320 km) to the south, also are on the hunt for a female red panda, missing since last week.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Sandra Maler)