About 200 police officers have been involved in the tracking of the war veteran and cougar for three days.

Keeping a dangerous animal like a cougar as a pet is prohibited in Poland, and the man was ordered to hand over the animal to the zoo. Zoo workers went to the house of a man living in southern Poland on Friday, when he threatened them with a knife and then escaped with a cougar on a leash, local media say.

- It's not a plush toy. It is one of the most dangerous animals in the world and can be a real threat to humans, said Ewa Zgrabczynska, director of the Poznan Zoo.

According to the newspaper Gazeta Wyborzca, the man had bought a cougar six years ago in the Czech Republic and raised it at home.