June 14 (UPI) -- A Tennessee nature center said a bobcat feared kidnapped from the facility is now believed to have escaped her would-be abductors and fled into the wild.
The Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center said Thursday that Evi the bobcat is believed to have fought against trespassers at the facility Monday night.
"We originally presumed she had been trafficked for the illegal exotic animal trade," the statement said. "We now believe Evi fought back against the criminals and was able to escape before she could be stolen."
The center said the trespassers paddled into the grounds from Lookout Creek and also broke into the enclosure of bald eagle Flora Nooga. The eagle was not taken and was not injured.
Officials said Evi is believed to be on the loose in the Lookout Mountain area. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is assisting with the search operation.