Concerns are now for the welfare of cheetah on the loose

African cat still at large; Calgary Zoo says it would be happy to help

  • Dec. 20, 2015 2:00 p.m.
Conservation officer Jarad Connatty and bloodhound are pictured are on a search for a cheetah

Conservation officer Jarad Connatty and bloodhound are pictured are on a search for a cheetah

Canadian Press

A cheetah on the loose in British Columbia’s Interior is still unaccounted for after it was last spotted roaming a snowy highway in the Kootenay region last week.

Conservation officers are urging people to phone in any tips or sightings of the big cat.

RCMP notified the public on Thursday that the feline had been seen wandering near Crawford Bay, about 50 kilometres northeast of Nelson.

Area residents and staff at Crawford Bay School were notified Thursday about a cheetah spotted on a nearby highway, said Principal Laury McPherson.

McPherson said students at the elementary and secondary school will stay indoors during recess and lunch.

She said the children are generally excited about the chance to see a cheetah in the area where wild animals, such as bears, are not uncommon.

“Some of the little ones are a little bit worried because a cheetah is exotic. So we’ve talked about what you do when you encounter a cougar or a cheetah, like making yourself large.”

RCMP in Creston said the cheetah was spotted along Highway 3A on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m., in the Crawford Bay and Kootenay Bay areas.

A motorist who saw the animal sent photos to police. The witness told RCMP the animal appeared to be wearing an orange cloth collar.

Insp. Joe Caravetta of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said Friday that three officers are hunting for the cat and also looking for its owner.

He said the provincial wildlife veterinarian doesn’t believe the public is at risk but the situation is being treated seriously.

“We want to be able to find this cheetah and for its own health and benefit be able to capture it and get it to a facility and have it checked out,” Caravetta said in an interview from Cranbrook.

“It could be hungry, and any animal that is hungry may do things that may not be in its character.”

Caravetta said cheetahs are typically shy and less aggressive than other big cats, but noted the animal is out in the cold rather than in its normal tropical habitat.

He said staff are trying to determine if anyone in the area has registered the cheetah, adding the jungle cats are legally allowed with a permit.

“It could simply be a pet, but at this point we haven’t been able to talk to the potential custodian.”

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said people should keep a close eye on small children and pets until the animal is located.

“Regardless of it having a collar on, it should be considered and respected as a wild animal.”

A spokeswoman for the Calgary Zoo says the B.C. government asked late last week whether the Alberta facility would be willing to house a cheetah.

Trish Exton-Parder says no further news has been received but the zoo has the proper permits and would be happy to help if the animal is found.

B.C.’s Forests Ministry says only the Vancouver Zoo has permission to possess a cheetah in B.C. but that another permit had been applied for in the Kootenays and was under review.

Just Posted

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation to host flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Corey Bullock file)
City of Cranbrook, Ktunaxa Nation hosting flag ceremony on National Indigenous Peoples Day

A temporary road closure and speed limit reduction will be in effect during the ceremony

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Cranbrook Arts has opened the doors of their  new gallery space to the public with their inaugural exhibit, Kootenay’s Best.
‘Kootenay’s Best’ opens Cranbrook Arts’ new gallery

This exhibit has been in the works for the past several months and features the work of more than 50 emerging and established artists from across the Kootenays

An example of the timber blowdown that let to the logging at Mountain Station. Photo: Anderson Creek Timber
Timber company logging near Nelson raises local concerns

Anderson Creek Timber owns 600 hectares of forest adjacent to the city

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read