Escaped snow leopard captured |Richard_F||08/30/04 at 00:10:41|richard_f|xx|0||Escaped snow leopard captured

Brian Moore
The Courier-Journal
August 04, 2004

The exotic snow leopard that escaped from its Bullitt County home nine days ago was captured this morning about two miles away.

The leopard, named Magic, was caught around 6:30 a.m. after a man called Bullitt County 911 dispatch and said the leopard was eyeing rabbits he kept in outdoor cages.

A dispatcher called Magic's owner, Tim Peveler, and the emergency hotline of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Peveler rushed to the scene and chased Magic into the woods, where he was able to grab the animal's chain leash, said Mark Marraccini, a Fish and Wildlife spokesman. Magic had been dragging the leash around since he got loose on July 27.

Up to 15 officers and biologists from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, had searched for Magic since it ran away from Peveler's home on Bells Mill Road last week.

Several traps were set up in the area to try to catch the leopard without harm.

Even though snow leopards can leap 45 feet and cover great distances in short time periods, officials said they believed Magic was still in the area. He was spotted Friday afternoon just before a severe thunderstorm hit Bullitt County, but he wasn't seen again until today.

Magic is 2 years old and weighs 50 pounds. He is declawed and has lived in captivity his entire life.

The snow leopard is an endangered species native to the mountains of Asia. Magic is one of several animals that Peveler keeps on his property. Marraccini said that Peveler also has a black leopard, two bearcats and an ocelot, which is also a wild spotted cat.

Peveler said last week that he doesn't keep the animals for profit. He works two jobs unrelated to animal welfare and keeps the animals in an effort "to preserve the species," he said.