MONTEVIDEO – The jaguar of “large dimensions” that was being hunted for several days in eastern Uruguay turned out to be, authorities believe, a wildcat that was found several hours ago lying dead on a highway.
Since Oct. 21 when a child reported seeing a huge cat as big “as a car is wide,” thus spreading alarm among local residents, an intensive search was carried out by firefighters, cops and municipal employees.
And as the alert was being sounded in the eastern province of Maldonado, the local press reported that some domestic animals had turned up with fresh wounds and that a large feline footprint was found in freshly laid cement.
“We couldn’t ignore it. We had to respond somehow and not dismiss any possibilities until later,” Carlos Fontes, head of the Maldonado emergency management office, said on Tuesday to justify the search and capture operation.
Fontes said the authorities had dismissed several days ago the possibility that the creature was a jaguar and thought it was probably “an ocelot or a wildcat.”
It finally appeared that the wildcat run over by a car in the last few hours on a highway in Maldonado had all the characteristics of the animal being hunted, Fontes said.