TOWN OF DELAVAN -- A pair of precious belongings have gone missing from a petting zoo here. The staff at Animal Gardens is certain someone stole their two seven-week-old Siberian lynx overnight Monday, July 3rd.
"There's no way they could've crawled out," said Danette Vincenti, Animal Gardens' caretaker for the cats.
Vincenti said they last saw the lynx around 5:00 p.m. Monday. On Tuesday morning, the baby cats were missing, and Vincenti thinks the thieves sliced open the top of the cage to make it look like they escaped. She said she's especially concerned because of how vulnerable the lynx are at their age.
"The issue with these animals is they were just transitioned from their milk to meat, so they're barely eating the meat right now," said Vincenti.
Town of Delavan police confirmed they are investigating the disappearance. Vincenti suspects someone is trying to sell the animals.
"There's money out there on the black market. These are Siberian lynx. They're not indigenous to this area," said Vincenti.
The staff warned these may look like cute kitties now, but eventually 'Mogley' and 'Blue' will grow up to be big cats.
"They are not house cats. They are not meant to be kept inside, you know?" Vincenti said.
The workers at Animal Gardens said they just want the lynx to be returned -- adding if someone were to drop them off anonymously, they'd be fine with that.
Animal Gardens is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the cats' safe return.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been notified. If you have any information related to the two stolen lynx, you're asked to contact the Town of Delavan Police Department 262-728-9777 or Animal Gardens at 262-728-8200.