News & Politics

There Is a Bobcat Missing From the National Zoo, and You Are Too Slow to Catch Her

Bobcats are not known to be aggressive to humans, but let's be real here.

Ollie. Photograph by Barbara Statas/Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Ollie the bobcat is on the loose. The 25-pound feline was where she was supposed to be at 7:30 this morning, when a keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo counted her. But by 10:40, she’d apparently made a run for it. Staff “are taking several measures to attract Ollie back to her enclosure,” the zoo says in a press release.

Another view of Ollie. Photograph by Barbara Statas/Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

If you spot Ollie, call 202-633-7362. Animal care and control officers from the Humane Rescue Alliance are assisting the zoo in recovery efforts.

Do not approach Ollie yourself. “There is no imminent danger to Zoo guests or general public,” the zoo says, and “Bobcats are not known to be aggressive to humans.” (Good luck catching her even if you’re too cocky to ignore this advice: As the zoo’s own page about bobcats notes, bobcats can run as fast as 30 miles per hour. You can’t. Sorry.)

Ollie is the second high-profile animal to make a daring escape from a mid-Atlantic zoo: Sunny the red panda is still at large after disappearing from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk last Monday.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.