Officials urge caution around lost serval ; African cat last seen in Heritage Park area
By Alexis DeLaCruz (Contact)
Wednesday, August 8, 2007 E-mail story Comments (11) iPod version Print story
This serval, a medium-sized African cat, escaped from its owner in Steamboat Springs on Saturday. The cat is not thought to be a danger to humans, but officials are urging caution to anyone who may come in contact with it. (Courtesy Photo)
Steamboat Springs — A domesticated serval escaped from a motorhome in the Heritage Park area Saturday, and law enforcement officers are urging residents to be careful if they come in contact with it.
A serval is a wild African cat that is medium in size and distinguishable by its large, triangular ears and a lean body covered with black spots. A serval’s natural diet includes rodents, birds, insects, reptiles, fish and hares. Jim Haskins, area wildlife manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said he wasn’t aware of the missing serval until Tuesday.
“It’s supposedly domesticated, but it’s still a wild animal,” he said. “People need to be cautious if they come in contact with this thing and call (wildlife) officials.”
Alta, Wyo., resident Ken Koster owns the serval, which he named Sir Sidney. Koster is offering a $500 reward for the return of his beloved pet, which escaped while Koster was visiting family in Steamboat Springs.
Koster said the animal still has its claws and could scratch anyone who attempts to pick it up.
“He really isn’t a threat to people,” Koster said Tuesday. “He would not attack anyone or be aggressive unless he was provoked.”
Koster said Sir Sidney is bashful and responds to clicking sounds and raw chicken.
Haskins said the serval could be the animal that has been reported as a mountain lion. A reported mountain lion sighting was made Monday night by a Steamboat Springs police officer on Village Drive.
DOW officials will not actively search for the animal, Haskins said.
It is illegal to own a serval in Colorado, and Haskins said Koster could face fines as a result of bringing the animal into the state.
“It is not legal to own one of these things in Colorado regardless (of weather Koster has) got the appropriate permits in another state,” he said.
Haskins said it’s become popular to own exotic pets such as servals.
“They’re the new designer pet,” he said. “They’re just not legal in Colorado.”
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August 8, 2007 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)
Well ,On sunday I saw this animal in my backyard .We have lots of barn cats around,but I knew it wasn’t a barn cat,so I went on the computer and identified it.It was eating birdseed from the ground and when i looked at it out the window it ran into our field,have’nt seen it since.I was questioning what I really saw.Now I know.
Hint — look for it in grouse habitat. These animals prey on guinea fowl in Africa, and a grouse is the closest wild neighbor in this part of the world.
August 8, 2007 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)
id04sp-I wonder if mourning doves are close enough to guinea fowl-got lots of doves in our field.I am told by DOW that the owner is concerned that because the cat is domesticated it wont be able to survive.I know my cat hunts all kinds of critters out here.I’m just glad to know what this cat is.
August 8, 2007 at 8:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)
id04sp-I wonder if mourning doves are close enough to guinea fowl-got lots of doves in our field.I am told by DOW that the owner is concerned that because the cat is domesticated it wont be able to survive.I know my cat hunts all kinds of critters out here.I’m just glad to know what this cat is.I think it’s instincts will kick in if he gets hungry.
August 8, 2007 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)
I’m wondering why before transporting such an exotic pet between states the owner didn’t investigate the laws about servals in Colorado. Should have had a neighbor watch him (hehe)
August 8, 2007 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)
I’ve never understood why people keep wild animals as pets. If it’s as ill-eqipped as the owner claims re: its ability to survive, maybe it’ll become the bear’s next meal.