Two North American badgers that escaped from their enclosure at Niabi Zoo may be in the immediate area, according to zoo officials. The male and female pair escaped Oct. 4 from the outside portion of their habitat in the biodiversity building at the Coal Valley zoo. The badgers were purchased for $6,000 in July from a zoo in Wisconsin and moved into their enclosure following a 30-day quarantine.

According to a QC Times.com article, zoo director Lee Jackson said there have been many clues the animals haven't gone far: images captured on trail cams, bait missing from live traps, and signs of digging.

Jackson said zoo staff put out five live traps in an attempt to lure the animals and two more live traps have been ordered. The traps are set with the badgers' favorite meal — dead mice or rats — and checked daily. Other animals have been caught in the traps and released. Zoo staff still aren't sure how the badgers escaped.

Zoo staff say several nearby residents have sent in photos of badgers seen in their yards, but they do not resemble the pair owned by the zoo.

Badgers will become aggressive if cornered. If they are spotted, the public is asked not to try to capture them, but to notify the zoo immediately.