African cat ‘King Sparta’ returns to Edgecombe County zoo after brief escape ::

— An African cat who escaped from an Edgecombe County zoo is back in its enclosure on Wednesday morning.

New video from a viewer shows the African serval wandering on Temperance Hall Road in Pinetops.

WRAL reached out to the owner of “It’s a Zoo Life,” who owns the animal.

The owner, Bobbie Joe Abrams, said a pig let “King Sparta” out. She called the cat and he came running back.

Abrams rushed to the highway where Sparta had made his way near a woman’s house.

“I asked her, I said, ‘I hate to ask you this, but do you have any raw meat? Like, raw chicken?’ She come out with a piece of raw chicken and I go, ‘Sparty! King Spartacus! Sparta!’ He comes right out because he smells the meat, I put it in the kennel, he walked right in and we brought him home,” Abrams described.

Candid Cobb was driving her daughter home from softball practice Wednesday outside of Pinetops when they saw a line of parked cars looking at something on the side of thew highway.

“It’s definitely crazy, you would not think to have something of that sort just driving down the highway,” Cobb said.

Cobb said she didn’t recognize the animal because it was serval.

“When we were passing by, we saw that it was like a leopard or whatever it is that was on the side of the road,” she said. “At the moment it was like very weird, like why is this animal here?”

Abrams says the cat is domesticated and never posed a threat.

Exotic animals are legal to own in North Carolina. A serval is a wild cat seen in most parts of Africa.