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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
UK diplomats fear Addis leopard
Leopards
More than one leopard may be in the compound
A leopard has been terrifying residents in the British embassy compound in Ethiopia's capital.

A conservationist has been called in to capture the wild cat, after it ate several domestic cats and rabbits.

A resident in the 70-acre wooded compound in Addis Ababa saw the leopard outside her house at 1030 one morning just 10 feet from her door.

"It was quite terrifying - especially as I've got young children," she told the BBC.

"It is very beautiful, it is huge," another worried parent told AFP news agency.

Rotten meat

Embassy spokesperson Holly Tett said the embassy was committed to protecting wildlife and ensuring staff on the compound are safe.

She said they were looking at various ways of dealing with the problem.

Conservationist Sisay Taye, who has been asked to catch the leopard by the Ethiopian Wildlife Service, told the BBC he thinks there are may be two or three leopards on the compound.

"Residents say they have seen different sizes and markings."

He is planning to catch them by using rotten meat in cages and then hopes to return them to the wild.

"[Residents] are worried about their kids but they don't want the animals to be caged when it has been trapped. They want it to be released in the wild."

Leopards are general predators able to live in any habitat where there is sufficient cover and prey - even on the outskirts of urban areas.


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