Conservation officers are trying to determine if anyone in B.C. has registered a cheetah after a big cat was spotted wandering a snowy highway.
People may legally keep an exotic animal such as a cheetah if they have a permit.
Inspector Joe Caravetta with the B-C Conservation Officer Service says the loose animal is not believed to pose a risk to the public but it needs to be captured for its own health.
The big cat by a motorist on Highway 3A near Kootenay Bay Thursday afternoon around 4:30pm.
Inspector Joe Caravetta with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service says the loose animal is not believed to pose a risk to the public but it needs to be captured for its own health.
“…it could be hungry, and any animal that’s hungry could do things that may not be in character. It could simply be a pet as well, but at this point we don’t know much about because we haven’t been able to talk to the potential custodian of it to find anything out about it.”
Creston RCMP have asked residents of nearby Kootenay Bay and Crawford Bay to watch out for it, and to be extra careful.
Mounties say the cheetah does have an orange collar around its neck, but warn the public to not treat it like a pet.
Until the animal is located people are asked to be vigilant while outdoors, especially with their small children and animals. BC Conservation Services advises that a cheetah is typically shy and less aggressive then other members of the Felidae Pantherineae (large cat) family. Regardless of it having a collar on, it should be considered and respected as a wild animal. Public safety along with the animal’s welfare are paramount at this time.Stated Cpl Dan Moskaluk.
Students at Crawford Bay School near Highway 3A where the cat was spotted will stay indoors during recess and lunch.
If you happen to see the animal, you’re asked to call 911 or the BC Conservation Office at 1-877-952-7277