Julio the capybara on the run from Limerick mini-zoo 

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The South American capybara is a harmless herbivore.

AS SILAGE cutting season starts, a Limerick mini-zoo has appealed to farmers and contractors to keep an eye out for a gentle grass-eating creature who has gone missing from his county Limerick home.

Eight-year-old Julio, a South American capybara, went missing from the Wild Encounters Mini Zoo outside Kilmeedy near Newcastle West last month.

A harmless herbivore, the little animal is about the size of a labrador and will most likely be spotted munching on grass and leaves early in the morning or evening.

He is as likely to be heard as seen as he has a high-pitched call, which is loud and is described as sounding like a cross between the sound of a dog and a donkey.

He’s unlikely to have gone looking for romance as there are no ladies of his species out there and in any event, he has been neutered.

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Liam Fitzgerald, owner of the Mini Zoo told the Limerick Post that Julio is “not at all dangerous. In fact he is very timid and will shy away from humans and other animals so if anyone sees him, the best thing is to contact us immediately on 061 974951 or by email on [email protected]

“If whoever sees him can Google pin-drop the location that would be great, as we will have to move fast to try to get there before he runs off.”

The zoo also has a Facebook page, but the quicker a sighting is reported, the more likely it is that handlers can get him him safe and sound.

While staff at the facility have had a number of reports of sightings, they have not managed to catch a glimpse of Julio themselves.

“We had a confirmed sighting about a week ago but our guess is, he hasn’t gone too far because he likes grass and needs water and there is plenty of both nearby.

“When silage cutting starts, that’s likely to scare him and we would ask people in the area to keep an eye out,” said Liam.