Ollie, a standoffish bobcat, is was missing from the National Zoo

On a snowy Monday morning in the nation’s capital, Ollie the bobcat apparently just needed some space. UPDATE: She’s over it.


Barbara Statas / Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington announced that Ollie, a 6-year-old, 25-pound female cat, had gone missing sometime between 7:30 a.m., when handlers check in on the enclosure she shares with two male bobcats, and feeding time at 10:40 a.m.

“She’s very standoffish,” Craig Saffoe, the zoo’s curator of great cats, said of Ollie at an afternoon news conference, calling her “not super friendly.” He added: “It would be extremely easy on us if she were a cat who would come when called, but that’s not who this individual is.” Read more from Joe Coscarelli for the New York Times.

UPDATE: Missing since Monday, Jan. 30, Ollie was located near the zoo’s bird exhibit Wednesday afternoon after a tip from a zoo visitor who claimed to have spotted her.

National Zoo Curator of great cats Craig Saffoe said he believes she left her enclosure and went toward Rock Creek Park, following the creek before meandering back to her home at the Zoo — an approximate two-mile journey.

Saffoe said he believes Ollie has been “coming back and forth” along Massachusetts Ave. where several reports claim to have spotted her.
“The really important thing I think, and for our knowledge, is that she didn’t stray far away from home and she came right back home. She didn’t go too far, which is reassuring to us,” Saffoe said of the staff’s concern that Ollie’s time away could be attributed to her desire to be free.

“She wanted to go out, have a little bit of fun and see what it was like on the outside,” he said.

Posted: 2 February 2017
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.