Brussels firefighters injured after seizing rare African wild cat

Brussels firefighters injured after seizing rare African wild cat
The animal is one of six servals that have been sized in Belgium. Credit: Natuurhulpcentrum

Two Brussels firefighters were injured after they seized an African wildcat which was being illegally kept by residents in Schaerbeek.

Police were carrying a house search in the northern Brussels municipality as part of a separate investigation when they came across the serval, a rare wild cat native to Africa.

The Brussels fire crew was called on site by police, with the tussle to capture the wild cat leaving at least two firefighters injured and a landing net destroyed.

After it was captured, the serval was taken to the Natuurhulpcentrum wild animal shelter in the province of Limburg.

“It is a hype nowadays to keep this African cat species as a pet. This is illegal,” the shelter wrote in an online statement, adding that these animals, which tend to be solitary and grow to around 60 centimetres in height, were usually sold on “rogue” foreign websites.

“Although they look like little leopards with their beautiful fur, they can become very aggressive,” the organisation wrote, noting the injured firefighters and adding: “Our slogan: ‘Only an idiot takes an exotic pet as a roomate,’ is clearly appropriate here.

The animal shelter said that the seized feline is currently in isolation and that a health check will be carried out, and that it is one of a total of six servals they are sheltering temporarily, all of which were seized in Belgium.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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