An Afghan war veteran and his pet puma are on the run from around 200 Polish police after ‘he pulled a knife on zookeepers’ when it was ordered that he hand over the big cat.
Kamil Stanek has allegedly threatened Poznan city zookeepers after they turned up at his house in the southern town of Myslowice, demanding he hand over the puma.
The Poznan Zoo is around 200 miles away from the forest where Stanek has fled to. Allegedly, the war veteran has been exploiting the puma by taking her around the country and charging people £600 to stroke her.
Head of Poznan Zoo, Ewa Zgrabcyznska, said: “It’s not a cuddly toy. It’s one of the most dangerous animals in the world and it could be a real threat to people’s lives.”
According to the zoo, staff members travelled to Stanek’s house after they had heard he had a puma living in a cramped and filthy cage.
Stanek was meant to hand over the puma to the Poznan Zoo back in January, so has effectively been on the run with Nubia, the puma, ever since.
In Poland, it is against the law to have a puma as a pet. Stanek purchased Nubia six years ago in the Czech Republic.
Allegedly, Stanek and his wife run an animal sanctuary. On Facebook, they have thousands of media followers and recently, he has updated his fans.
With fans and followers he shared a video of himself stroking Nubia, he captioned the post: “Thank you for your messages and support. Let the media see what an army we have.”
One of Stanek’s supporters is the mayor of Myslowice, who has suggested that he doesn’t think Stanek should be being forced into hiding.
On Facebook, the mayor wrote: “Love for the animal and a heartless court decision forced him to flee. He is hiding in the forest.
“Maybe someone could take a more humane look at this case.”
Polish animal rights group, the Coalition for Circuses Without Animals, claim that Stanek has been moving the puma around in a small trailer and keeps her outside his property in a cage.
Photos that have emerged of Nubia online, in which she’s living in a large enclosure, are apparently from Stanek’s family home, according to the activist group. The images date back to 2016 before his legal troubles began.
The police have declined to comment on the case but spokesman Tomasz Grabos told AFP only: “We are continuing our operations.”
The Poznan Zoo have stated that there is an enclosure prepared for the animal’s arrival and she will receive expert veterinary care.