02/02/2017 4:05 AM AEDT | Updated 02/02/2017 9:26 AM AEDT

D.C. Zoo Suspends Search For Escaped Bobcat

Barbara Statas Smithsonian's National Zoo
A 25-pound female bobcat named Ollie escaped from the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

UPDATE: Ollie has been found on zoo property, the zoo announced on Twitter Wednesday evening.


Zoo officials in Washington, D.C., have suspended a search for an escaped bobcat, three days after she was reported missing from her enclosure.

“Our team did not recover our bobcat, Ollie, overnight so they have moved into the next phase of their recovery strategy,” Devin Murphy, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, told The Huffington Post Wednesday.

That current plan means they’ll discontinue neighborhood patrols but will keep their hotline open and will investigate tips, Murphy said.

Ollie, a female bobcat weighing 25 pounds, likely squeezed out of a 5-by-5-inch hole in her enclosure’s mesh fencing at the zoo Monday, officials said.

The zoo has since shut down the bobcat exhibit and has declared the area a “quiet zone” in hopes that Ollie will return.

“We very much believe she will want to come back to her exhibit,” Brandie Smith, the National Zoo’s associate director for animal care sciences, told The New York Times. “There’s shelter, there’s food, there’s warmth.”

Barbara Statas Smithsonian's National Zoo
A 25-pound female bobcat named Ollie escaped from the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Monday.

Though bobcats are carnivores, zoo officials said that she poses no imminent danger to the general public. They do caution that people should be mindful of their pets.

Ollie is otherwise described as healthy, spayed and up to date on all her vaccines, “including rabies,” Murphy said.

The bobcat’s escape sparked some concern around the District, however. 

D.C. public schools opted to keep their kids inside for recess on Tuesday out of an “abundance of caution,” a District spokeswoman told The Washington Post.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Bobcats are larger than the average domestic cat. They are carnivores but pose no imminent danger to people, officials said.

American University in D.C. also issued an advisory to its Twitter followers on Monday.

Since all escaped zoo animals seem to have a Twitter account these days, Ollie has taken to the web to document her life on the run. So far it has included binging on Netflix and indulging in tequila.

Anyone who sees Ollie is asked to call 202-633-7362.

Meanwhile, at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, a 19-month-old red panda named Sunny – who also has a Twitter account ― has been missing since Jan. 23.

Sunny’s size is similar to a raccoon, though she has mostly red and black fur.

“Red pandas are generally not considered aggressive animals, but like any wild animal its behavior can be unpredictable and you should not try to touch, feed, or capture Sunny yourself,” the zoo cautioned in a release.

Sunny may also appear agitated or have hyperactive behavior since it’s red panda breeding season.

She’s suspected of accidentally falling out of her enclosure while climbing a slippery branch, zoo officials said.

Back in 2013, another red panda named Rusty also escaped from the National Zoo in Washington. He was eventually collared in the nearby neighborhood of Adams Morgan.

This story has been updated with news that the search was suspended.

Cheetah Photos by Zoological Society of London

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