According to Cleveland.com, Cincinnati Animal Care responded to a report of a leopard that was spotted in a tree in late January. CAC contacted a big cat expert to help identify the animal, which was later confirmed to be an endangered species known as the African serval cat through DNA testing.
“Our initial thought was the cat was a hybrid F1 Savannah, which is legal to own in Ohio, but our expert was pretty certain Amiry was a serval, which are illegal to own,” CAC community engagement manager Ray Anderson told WLWT.
The African serval cat, which goes by the name Amiry, wound up in the tree after fleeing its owner’s vehicle during a traffic stop. The serval suffered a broken leg during the retrieval process, while blood tests revealed Amiry had cocaine in his system. Officials are still unsure how exactly that happened.
The Cincinnati Zoo is now taking care of Amiry.
“The serval has been receiving veterinary care in our Animal Health Center since he was brought here,” the Cincinnati Zoo said in a statement, obtained by HuffPost. “He’s doing well, and the next step will be for our Cat Ambassador Program team to work with him and determine if he’s a good fit to be an ambassador animal. He will likely be behind the scenes for a while.”
Amiry’s owner is cooperating with an investigation, and will not face any charges.