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Exotic Cat Loose in Youngsville, LA

Foster Park in Youngsville has been reopened for recreational activities. The public is advised to be careful and watchful for any sightings that are out of the ordinary, such as the serval. There is no evidence that the cat has been around any of the traps that were set, and there have been no sightings as of Friday afternoon.

Since the cat is thought to be domesticated and there is no evidence of the cat in the area, Foster Park is open for weekend activities.
UPDATED 1:40 PM

No new sightings of the serval have been reported today in Youngsville, said Animal Control supervisor Virginia Lee.

Lee said they have not received any reports from possible owners and none of their traps have been set off.

She said the initial search is over and Animal Control will only react from reported sightings.
UPDATED 11:30 AM

Lafayette Animal Control continues the search for the loose serval in Youngsville. Traps are still set up in the sugarcane field near Foster Memorial Park, but it has not been caught yet.
ORIGINAL STORY

Lafayette Animal Control is still on the lookout for an African serval, an exotic cat, in Youngsville after it was first spotted early Thursday morning.

Virginia Lee, Lafayette Animal Control supervisor, said the first spotting of the serval was near Foster Memorial Park in Youngsville early Thursday morning.

The animal was still loose as of 7 p.m. Thursday.

Traps were set up in a sugarcane field near the park in hopes of capturing the serval, and Lee is hopeful it will be caught in a peaceful manner.

Animal Control received about three to four calls throughout the day about confirmed sightings of the serval, with the furthest being about a half-mile north of Foster Park.

Animal Control has not received any recent sightings, with the last one being at 1 p.m.

“We’ve stretched our search area into the perimeters of Youngsville,” Lee said, although she was not able to specify how far out. “We might have to come up with a different game plan (today) if we don’t catch it tonight.”

The owners also have not been identified, nor have they come forward.

“After talking to some people, we’re having the feeling this cat has been on loose for a while,” Lee said.

The traps, Lee said, are humane traps they also use to catch stray dogs and cats. She said they are wire traps that when an animal steps inside, it triggers the door to close.

A serval is a medium-sized cat that originates from Africa. They are mainly a nocturnal animal and are carnivorous, with their diets including rodents, birds or reptiles, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.

Lee said while the serval they are looking for has been domesticated, there is still some risk involved. She said it’s not uncommon for people to want to buy a serval as a house pet, but she doesn’t encourage such actions.

“Don’t just walk up to something like this,” she said. “It’s always an unsafe thing when it’s an animal that’s not well known.”

She said anytime there is an animal outside of its normal settings, it will become defensive, especially when approached by people it’s not used to.

Lee said anyone who spots the serval should leave it alone and call 911, where they will be directed to the right person.

bigcatrescue.org