Bobcat escapes from National Zoo in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A 25-pound (11-kg) female bobcat escaped from Washington's National Zoo on Monday, zoo officials said, while warning area residents not to approach the brownish feline if they see her. The wild-born bobcat, Ollie, was last seen during a routine daily count at 7:30 a.m., the zoo said in a statement. She did not show for the bobcats' daily feeding just over three hours later at the zoo, one of the U.S. capital's major tourist attractions. "Animal Care staff conducted an immediate search and have not located the bobcat," it said. Zoo officials asked anyone spotting the animal to call them. The species is not known to be aggressive to humans. Ollie, who is thought to be almost 7 years old, may return for food and shelter. The area around the bobcat exhibit is closed because she likely will stay hidden from humans, the zoo said. Bobcats, which are similar to lynxes, range from Mexico to southern Canada and can run up to 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour). They are from 1.5 to 2 feet (46 to 64 cm) tall at the shoulder and their fur is buff to brown, sometimes with a reddish tinge, according to the zoo's website. Officials at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, almost 200 miles (320 km) to the south, are on the hunt for a female red panda, missing since last Tuesday. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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