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Calgary Zoo offers to take Koots Kitty, but cat confounds Conservation

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
December 18th, 2015

The Calgary Zoo has offered to take an adult cheetah loose in the Kootenays, but the cat is still on the lam in the Creston area, according to B.C. Conservation Insp. Joe Caravetta.

“We’re hoping for a new sighting,” Caravetta said. “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack – and it’s starting to get dark, and fresh snow has covered any tracks.”

He said the cat’s origin remains a mystery as well, but he hopes someone will come forward with more information that will help them capture the massive kitty.

“It’s not a huge public safety threat – we’re concerned about the welfare of the cat,” he said. “They’re not aggressive like cougars, or like lions or leopards. And they don’t have retractable claws, and don’t climb trees – they run their prey down and kill it by strangulation.”

Admittedly no expert on cheetahs, Caravetta said he got a crash course on the cats today, with people from all over the world calling him to offer information and insight on the felines, which will hopefully help him capture it without causing any harm.

“They can run fast, but not far, so we don’t want to let the dogs after it, the concern being that the dogs would kill it, and we can’t tree it like a cougar,” he said, adding the hope is that they can use dogs on leashes to help corner it, then tranquilize it and transport it to the zoo.

Anyone spotting the animal is asked not to approach it, but rather to call authorities immediately.

Samantha Istance, the woman who photographed the animal while driving along Highway 3A between Kootenay Bay and Crawford Bay on Thursday afternoon, said she hopes the animal is captured and cared for.

“I’d hate to think this will draw hunters out looking for him,” she said. “Who does that, puts a collar on a cheetah? I just hope it’s okay.”

Categories: General

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