A wild big cat has been spotted in Islip, according to residents, police, and a local animal rescue group.
Reports of the wild animal on the loose came in to Suffolk County Police at about 10:40 a.m. on Tuesday, the department said. When police arrived at the scene on Boulevard Avenue in West Islip, the big cat was gone. Residents also report seeing the animal, reportedly a Siberian lynx, earlier that morning.
“We’re working together with the SPCA and the authorities to get him safely to a sanctuary,” said Frankie Floridia, president of the Strong Island Animal Rescue League.
The rescue organization received a call Tuesday at about 9 a.m. from Islip homeowner Diane Huwer who snapped photos of the big cat sitting and walking around on her porch. A Central Islip resident, Bryant Luis Oliveira, also spotted the animal around 3 a.m.
“We have several people in my complex that go to work around 4 a.m. and plenty of families with children,” he said. “Now I’m looking both ways to take out the garbage.”
Oliveira traps, neuters, and releases feral cats and had put out fried chicken from KFC as bait to lure in new kittens before discovering the lynx. “I heard what sounded like cats fighting,” he said. “I run outside to find out KFC lures all kinds of cats.”
Suffolk police urge anyone who sees the animal to call 911 or the non-emergency police number, 631-852-COPS.