A serval far from home had been “spotted several times” in a Massachusetts town when rescuers finally got a call.
After “days of communication,” a resident in Lincoln, which is about 20 miles west of Boston, told the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Angell Animal Medical Center that the exotic cat had wandered into their yard, the group wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
“We immediately got on the road to see if we could capture and help this cat,” the MSPCA wrote.
Rescuers were able to capture the serval, now named Bruno, and take him back to their hospital for X-rays and treatment, the group wrote. They said he was thin and had a “severely broken leg” that was several months old.
They aren’t sure how long he had been wandering outside.
Bruno quickly gained fans on social media. Facebook users have flooded the comment section on the group’s post with concerns and questions about his condition. As of Sunday, Jan. 9, more than 4,500 people had liked the post.
In response, the MSPCA has been sharing updates about Bruno on its page.
On Jan. 6, the group posted videos of Bruno enjoying a snack outside and eating his breakfast before taking a nap.
But rescuers reminded residents that Bruno is not up for adoption. Instead, they are working with the state’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to find him a sanctuary to call home.
“Bruno is a beautiful, wild cat, so we can understand folks wanting to own him, but it is illegal to own a serval in Massachusetts,” they wrote. “It is also illegal to own a hybrid without a permit, or a cat that has a serval parent.”
The group wrote that servals need “specialized care” and “belong in their native habitat.”
“If you end up owning an exotic animal you can no longer care for, PLEASE do not abandon the animal or ‘set it free,’” the group wrote. “Contact MassWildlife or us for assistance!”
Servals are native to more than 35 African countries, according to the African Wildlife Foundation. They are common on savannas with “plenty of water.”
“They prefer areas of bush, tall grass, and dry reed beds near streams, but they are also found in high-altitude moorlands and bamboo thickets,” the foundation said. “They are found in most parts of Africa, with the exception of Central Equatorial Africa, the very Southern part of the continent, and the Sahara region.”
They are carnivorous and “eat a great variety of prey, including rodents, birds, reptiles, frogs, and insects.”
The “medium-sized” cats typically weigh between 19 and 40 pounds and grow up to 23 inches long, according to the foundation. They can live up to 23 years.
The MSPCA said it plans to have updates on Bruno’s treatment and placement soon.