Monday, July 16, 2007

Serval found on the loose in Pennsylvania

By Sara Ganim - sganim@centredaily.com

Patton Township police are asking residents to look out for a wildcat on the loose near Julian Pike and state Route 550.

Sgt. Frank Monroe said officers received a report Friday night of a cheetah running across state Route 550, but the animal turned out to be a serval, a medium-sized wildcat native to Africa.

"This is weird -- very, very bizarre," Monroe said.

People should not be alarmed by the creature, according to Monroe, who said when police attempted to capture the serval Friday night, it was very passive.

The main concern is preventing anyone -- and the serval -- from getting hurt as the search continues.

"I don't want to see it get hit by a car, or someone stop on the highway and get hit by a car," Monroe said.

Police are seeking the owners of the serval, because the animal could not survive a central Pennsylvania winter, Monroe said. Police have posted fliers asking residents to be on the lookout for the animal.

Monroe described the animal as a very odd creature with very long legs and is twice the size of an average house cat. It weighs about 25 pounds and is 18 to 20 inches tall.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission requires licenses for people keeping servals in the state. The Game Commission has no licenses issued in Centre County, and Monroe said the serval could have wandered from another county.

Anyone with information about the serval is asked to contact Patton Township police at 234-0987.

Sara Ganim can be reached at 231-4616.

http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/story/152648.html

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