After a two and a half days venture into the wild, Ollie the bobcat finally returned to the National Zoo on Wednesday, February 1st. According to the zookeepers, she escaped her enclosure on Monday through 5-inch hole in the mesh shortly before her breakfast. Ollie returned with a cut on her left paw. However, she sustained no major injuries. Nevertheless, the bobcat will be subjected to a detailed health evaluation to make sure she did not contract any disease while out of the zookeepers’ care.
National Zoo staffers say a passerby noticed Ollie running across a path and notified authorities. As soon as they arrived at the scene, they baited a capture trap. Soon after, the bobcat strolled into the trap and taken to the zoo hospital to check for any diseases Ollie might have contracted while roaming the woods, said Craig Saffoe, one of the zoo’s curators.
All the time the bobcat was missing, zookeepers believed Ollie will inevitably return on her own. However, nobody suspected it would happen so soon. One of the curators said the task of finding her in the wild would have been more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack. Nevertheless, Saffoe said finding Ollie again was the same as being reunited with a long-lost member of the family.
For the past days, law enforcement officers together with curators at the National Zoo had been scouring the woods of Rock Creek park. On Wednesday, the zoo finally announced the suspension of the search for the 25-pound female bobcat.
In the meantime, 13 schools in the nearby area canceled their Tuesday outdoor recess as a precautionary measure. However, the schools returned to the regular schedule once they were assured children were no longer in danger.
Bobcats are not generally aggressive towards humans and prey mostly on rabbits, mice, squirrels, goats, and small deer. The incident is not the first of its kind. Back in 2013, a red panda named Rusty escaped his enclosure using overhanging tree branches. Fortunately, he was later found in a tree in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. During the same year, a nonflying vulture also made its escape using a wind gust to escape its enclosure. Nevertheless, Natalie was caught shortly afterward in a parking lot not far away.
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