Pet Servals Escape in CA NY and OH

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 4th, 2010

Photo: NY Department of Environmental Conservation

The wild cat species serval (Leptailurus serval) live in Africa. Thus it was a surprise recently when it was reported that a serval weighing 30 pounds was found on the New York Thruway. It was first identified as a 150-pound leopard. The felid was found August 23, 2010, on the eastbound lane of the Thruway at milepost 303 in the vicinity of Interchange 40, Auburn/Weedsport, New York.

Serval killed in Pennsylvania.

Serval killed in Kansas.

Perhaps what was more surprising is that Glenn Donnelly, who keeps 48 different exotic cats at a licensed private wildlife preserve near Weedsport, New York, stepped forward to tell authorities that the cat might have escaped from his place. He wasn’t sure.

David Figura of The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, must be credited with the understatement of the year: “It wasn’t your typical roadkill.”

DEC spokesman Yancey Roy said the animal is currently being examined at the DEC office in Syracuse and that it does have some kind of “tag.”

It is legal to possess a serval as a pet if one has a U.S. Department of Agriculture “exhibitor’s” permit, which Donnelly “apparently has,” Roy said.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, near the mall in German Township, near Dayton, authorities were looking for a missing serval from a German Twp. home since July. It was not considered a serious danger to the public, police said on Monday, August 30, 2010. It was last seen north of the Upper Valley Mall two weeks ago, officials said. (New York is too far from Ohio for this to be the same cat.)

Elsewhere, in California (not Montana, sorry), on August 23, 2010, this was letter published in the area’s local paper:

In the past month my housecat has been severely sliced up twice. I wondered if a bobcat and he now had overlapping territories. Then yesterday afternoon I found this hybrid cat, (I believe it is a Savannah cat which is a hybrid between a Serval and a housecat) just outside my front door.

The cat has a blue collar with a bell attached. No normal cat could stand a chance against him. Triple check your chicken enclosures and do not leave windows open. I read in Coastsider someone in Montara is setting out an animal trap. This might very well be to catch this animal. He was seen on Date Street (cross is Edison) at 7:40 pm August 22, 2010.

I had previously heard of these cats because one has come inside neighbors homes and killed quite a few caged pets in El Granada. Apparently they are a legal pet. Margot Lowry

Will reports of black servals be next in store for North America?

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  • Amy Nicole Tabler

    These are beautiful cats!

     

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