New hope in serval search near Qualicum Beach after another sighting

CHEK

The search for a missing pregnant exotic cat near Qualicum Beach has stretched into another day but its owners have new hope in finding it.

On Thursday morning, the female African serval was seen in a yard but despite attempts by the owners to corral it, it got away.

Just after 6:15 a.m., local Debbie Grundmann let her dogs and cats into her backyard and realized something was amiss.

“I heard the dog barking, so I came outside and looked and the cat was just right there coming down,” Grundmann told CHEK News.

It was the serval named Luna, loose and missing in the Corcan-Meadowood neighbourhood since Sunday.

Grundmann got her pets back in the house and her husband got the serval cornered until its owners arrived. But the cat, native to Africa, remained elusive.

“The cat was running back in the yard. We were trying to corner it, no luck. [It] jumped over the fence to our neighbours here and it’s kind of been in this bush. We’ve spotted it a couple times,” Grundmann said.

Because they have chickens, she took the day off work to keep watch.

“It’s a scary thing when you have animals and small kids,” Grundmann added.

The owners of the two servals reported the pair missing on social media on Sunday, after discovering their cats’ cage was open. The owners say someone must have let them out.

The same day they escaped, one of the servals killed a 19-year-old domestic cat named Zara. Her owners tell CHEK News that they’re too devastated to talk about it.

The male serval, Tumaz, was caught on Sunday but the female remains at large. The owners returned to the location of Luna’s last sighting on Thursday to set a trap.

“She’s getting hungry. I think she’s eating rabbits, but this is her favourite food and that’s what we’ve loaded the trap with, so I think we’re going to get her today,” Bill Edwards said.

No agency will help capture them and it’s legal to own exotic cats in B.C., though the SPCA believes that should change.

Edwards knows their ownership is controversial, which heightens his concerns, especially with all the animals in the neighbourhood.

“It’s a touchy subject. The majority of people want to see us capture our cat, and then you got different people that would probably kill it,” Edwards added.

He says missing cat sightings show it’s slowly heading toward its home, leading him to believe the serval search will end soon.

READ ALSO: African serval on the loose in Brentwood Bay, marking Island’s third exotic cat escape this week

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