Saturday, November 06, 2004

Serval Nyla escapes again

Serval Nyla escapes again

Owner's reunion with exotic cat short-lived as her pet flees again

Talisa Bowers cradles her African serval, Nyla, which was recaptured Nov. 10 after being on the loose for almost a month. But Nyla wasn't home long before she escaped again while Bowers was out of town.


Staff Writer

Dog worked gate open, letting serval to escape

COLUMBIA - Freedom must have tasted mighty good to Nyla, an African serval who wandered loose for three weeks before being captured Nov. 10 in downtown Columbia .

The cat is loose again.

Sometime late Tuesday, the wily wildcat slipped out of her padlocked, fenced-in back yard while her owner, Talisa Bowers, was in Fort Bragg , N.C. , seeing her son, Michael, off to Iraq .

''I'm just sick,'' a tearful Bowers said yesterday. ''I had everything secure, but my dog kept working her nose through the fence to try to get to the cat's food and got the fence open enough that Nyla got out.''

Bowers had left the cat in the care of a neighbor while she went to Fort Bragg . Her son is being deployed with the 82nd Airborne for a year, she said.

Emergency dispatchers and county deputies have received a half-dozen calls from people who have seen the 18-month-old cat, which resembles a cheetah, with a pale yellow coat and black spots, said dispatcher Michelle Denton. ''Most of them were in the same area where the cat was spotted the first time - around the National Guard Armory and the bypass,'' Denton said.

On Oct. 19, Nyla pushed open the storm door of Bowers' Sunset Lane home and eluded capture until the evening of Nov. 10.

The wandering wildcat doesn't present a real threat to people, livestock or pets, according to Lisa New, director of animal collections at the Knoxville Zoo.

''By nature, these animals are shy, solitary animals,'' she said. Also, Nyla has been declawed.

Bowers worries for the cat's safety. ''I just want to ask people again to remember she's my pet,'' Bowers said. ''So, please, don't shoot her.''

Anyone with information about the exotic cat's whereabouts can call the Columbia Police Department at 931-388-2727.

Sue McClure can be reached at 931-486-1139 or


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mentally disordered man jumps into lion's pit

Mentally disordered man jumps into lion's pit

A man who suffers from a mental disorder jumped into the lion's pit at the Taipei City Zoo on Wednesday. The forty-six-year-old intentionally provoked the lion by waving his jacket like a bullfighter. The aggravated tiger then attacked the man, but he was saved eventually after the zoo staff anesthetized the tiger with rifle shot.

Come out or you will dieshouted one visitor warning the man. The man, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, first began provoking the big cat while standing outside the lion's pit. At first, the lions didn't pay much attention to the man. But when he began waving his jacket at the ferocious animal, the lion finally jumped and attacked the man.

What is that guy doing, so scary I can't watch this. Let's go get help from the zoo staff said another visitor passing by. Visitors walking by were all petrified at the man's action. The lion left teeth marks on the man's arm and left leg, but the man still did not stop aggravating the big cat. He began to mumble prayers to the lion with both arms open wide. Almost seems as if he was trying to imitate Daniel in the Den from the bible.

This visitor used his jacket to provoke our lions. Our lions did bite him, but after the lion took away his jacket the lions also left him alon said one zoo staff. The incident happened around 11:30 in the morning. The zoo staff called the police immediately for assistance, as the lion had not yet been fed, and they were afraid that it might devour the man. The police mobilized a team with loaded rifles, and the fire department was also standing by with fire trucks.

Despite the warning signs in the African Animal Area, which are clearly labeled ¡§the lion's pit¡¨ the man just climbed the two-story high concrete wall and jumped down into the animal's home. Luckily, he suffered only minor bite wounds, unlike the innocent lions, who were anesthetized and quarantined. The lions will leave their display area temporarily for health checks, so as to make sure that they will not suffer any after-effects of the drugs.

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