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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Animal on the loose - 04.01.08

Posted as a community service:

Escaped Animal from the National Zoo

I want to alert all to a bulletin I just received:
A loof lirpa has escaped from the National Zoo. The animal ran out of its enclosure about 10 minutes ago when the zookeeper on duty was texting while the enclosure was unlocked.

The lirpa was last spotted heading north on Connecticut Avenue, and is probably in the vicinity of Porter Street and Connecticut Avenue about now. It may have stopped to snack on the vegetables at the outdoor carts at Magruder's.

DO NOT TRY AND CAPTURE THE LOOF LIRPA ON YOUR OWN. The lirpa stands about 4 feet tall, has a gazelle-like horns, weighs about 350 pounds, and comes from Patagonia. In other respects the lirpa resembles an alpaca. Normally the lirpa is gentle, but during its mating season (springtime, which is now), it can become aggressive. IF YOU HAVE A LARGE DOG, PLEASE KEEP YOUR DOG INSIDE. The naturally nearsighted lirpa may mistake your pet for its mate -- and it was the male that escaped. German shepherds, golden retrievers, and dalmatians are especially at risk, but even smaller dogs like miniature poodles and dachshunds may be a mating target, too, if the lirpa's sex desire is strong enough. Cats should be safe, unless they are abnormally large
and overweight.

The loof lirpa is a rare species and only about 12 zoos in the United States have one; half that number have a breeding pair, as the National Zoo does. Males in solo captivity lose their mating desire, but this male lirpa was planning to mate Friday or Saturday night (after dinner); its hormones are therefore likely to be at or near

If you're driving, please keep a lookout and drive carefully. The lirpa is quite a leaper. When a lirpa escaped from the San Diego Zoo in 2003 it caused a 7-car pile-up. The lirpa makes a clop-clop sound when it runs. Also, it has an aroma that can best be described a smelling like "cheap cologne," so you should be able to tell right away if the lirpa is or has been nearby.

The zoo has temporarily banned cell phone texting --for employees and visitors-- in the wake of this incident.

Please be careful. Treat the loof lirpa with caution -- it's a wild animal, and you can't tell how a wild animal will behave.

If you see the lirpa, please contact officials right away -- contact information here: http://zooalert.notlong.com .

--Bill Adler

Here is the response for the Commander of our local police station about the escaped animal:

Mr. Adler and community,
Thank you for this alert.
I would like to also alert the community that our officers are on the lookout for this animal. Our helicopter is up in the air right now, and we are responding to several lirpa sightings in the Cleveland Park community. Many of our officers who work near the Zoo are specially trained in animal capture and retention, and we feel confident that this situation will be brought under control at some point today.
Please go inside if you smell the aroma mentioned in the previous email. Our officers are also releasing a chemical which imitates the odor of the female lirpa when in heat, in order to facilitate capture, so the male's natural odors combined with the chemicals we are releasing produce an overwhelmingly interesting, and perhaps negative, smell. We ask that pedestrians who may see or even encounter the animal
avoid any sudden gestures which startle wild animals, and we ask that motorists
who catch a glimpse of this lirpa please alert us by cell phone only after
safely pulling to the curb. We will continue to provide periodic updates and I want to say again that we are committed to a speedy apprehension. I understand the
lirpa is normally subdued during evening hours, so if we are not successful in
assisting the Zoo with finding the lirpa today, I have the utmost confidence we
will probably get him tomorrow.
A. S., Commander, Second District


Olivia-Lee said...

I'll let you know if he shows up here. I understand they can really make tracks when they want to.. ~ ;-)

Eugenia said...

I thought I saw one peeking out of the woods behind our townhouse here in Manassas this afternoon. Must have caught a ride with some of the commuters. Oops, sorry that was a small deer!!!

Olivia-Lee said...

I know you were disappointed. Perhaps you can get a contract with the Zoo. One would think they would be shearing them sometime soon with warm weather approaching.

Maybe your retirement job could be knitting little lirpas for the gift shop...

I have a llama pattern you might be able to adapt.

Eugenia said...

Good idea. I'll make some loopy lirpa for lace knitting.