Missing cheetah is just the latest on Canada's list of fugitive animals

Dec 21, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. ET

An entire herd of buffalo missing, a cheetah at large, a bold peacock escape and a beloved downtown deer — 2015 will go down in history as the great year of runaway animals.

Cheetah still at large

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A cheetah is probably the last thing you expect to see when cruising down the highway, but last week a driver snapped a photo of one near Nelson, British Columbia, in the Kootenays. "My first thought was, 'That's a cheetah. What's it doing there?'" Samantha Istance told CBC.

Most people who saw a large, carnivorous cat on a deserted, snowy road probably wouldn't do what Istance did next: "I saw it had a collar on, so I tried to coax it over," she said. But the cheetah continued on its way down the road and has since continued to elude everyone who looks for it.

And it doesn't look like the big cat will be found anytime soon. RCMP just suspended the search citing snowy conditions.

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The mysterious buffalo herd nobody can find

Buffalo
Image: Jack Dykinga, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Earlier this month, RCMP in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, issued a public warning about a roaming herd of buffalo they can't seem to track down. Think an entire herd of buffalo would be easy to spot? Think again.

"They're good at hiding," Les Kroeger, president of the Saskatchewan Bison Association, told CBC.

"If they're in an area where there's a lot of bush or anything, they can be in the trees," he said. "If they've been provoked or pushed, they can run away as soon as somebody gets too close."

Apparently the creatures have quite a sense of adventure: "They like exploring. They're very curious, so they might go for quite a long run," said Kroeger.

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Toronto's runaway peacock

A peacock described as "more adventurous" than most, bust out of its coop at Toronto's High Park Zoo this year. The peacock was spotted boldly scaling the rooftop of a residential home and enjoying its new-found freedom, scaling treetops in Toronto. Zoo officials initially tried to catch the bird, but then decided simply to wait for it to come back. And lo and behold, it did, days later.

“I had a feeling he’d go home. I’d been saying that since day one. I had faith in him,” Sarah Doucette, a city councillor on the board for the Friends of the High Park Zoo, told The Star.

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Vancouver's "downtown deer"

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Vancouverites fell in love with a friendly deer roaming downtown last summer, who quickly earned its own Twitter handle, becoming an overnight social media celebrity. Sadly the deer was struck and killed by a car at the end of the summer. But whether the deer was giving some company to Stanley Park fishermen or cruising down the middle of busy Granville Street, it brightened the day of everyone who had the pleasure of spotting it.

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