July 5 (UPI) -- A Wisconsin petting zoo is pleading for the return of two Siberian lynx cubs stolen from the facility's barn.
Christine Zerbini, an employee at the Animal Gardens Petting Zoo in Delavan, said the workers were holding an early Fourth of July party Monday night and they discovered the two cubs were missing when they checked on the animals about 11:30 p.m.
"Someone came through the gates, scoped out the barn and stole our two baby Lynx," Zerbini told WTMJ-TV.
The exotic cats, named Mowgli and Blue, are only 8 weeks old.
"They are about the size of a three-month-old kitten but stockier and bigger paws," Zerbini said.
The zoo's owner, Dana Montana, said there is concern that the cubs could be unintentionally harmed by someone treating them as though they were domestic kittens.
"These animals are exotic and require different care than a domestic cat," she told WISN-TV.
Danette Vincenti, the cat keeper at the petting zoo, said the lynx cubs require a specific diet.
"The issue with these animals is they were just transitioned from their milk to meat, so they're barely eating the meat right now," Vincenti told WITI-TV.
She said officials are certain the cats were stolen.
"There's no way they could've crawled out," she said. "There's money out there on the black market. These are Siberian lynx. They're not indigenous to this area."
The zoo is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the cubs' return.