Police are hoping to pounce on a cheetah spotted wandering the roads of southeastern British Columbia before the big cat prowls into some serious trouble.
Creston RCMP said the big cat was spotted along Highway 3A on Thursday about 4:30 p.m. in the Crawford Bay and Kootenay Bay areas.
The adult animal was photographed by a motorist, who sent the pictures to police. In the photos, the cheetah is wearing an orange cloth collar.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said officers are now searching for the cat’s custodian.
He asked people to be vigilant while outdoors – keeping a close eye on small children and pets – until the animal is located.
“B.C. Conservation Services advises that a cheetah is typically shy and less aggressive then other members of the Felidae Pantherineae (large cat) family,” he said in a news release. “Regardless of it having a collar on, it should be considered and respected as a wild animal.”
Area residents and staff at Crawford Bay School have been notified of the situation.
The Creston RCMP is working with conservation officers to find the animal.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Controlled Alien Species unit of the B.C. Conservation Service, or Crimestoppers.