Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

Relocating the Cats is Not the Solution

A single bobcat requires 5 square miles of territory in order to have enough prey to support him. All exotic cats, male and female, spray to mark their boundaries. Except for an overlapping of territory during mating the cats patrol and defend their boundaries against other cats and other top predators. These boundaries must be fiercely guarded or the cats will starve to death. If two wild cats find themselves in the same area they will fight to the death. That is why respecting these scent marked boundary lines is so important to them.

…the cat is being dumped into some other cat’s territory
and one of them is going to die.

Bobcats will almost never show themselves, so if you see one it may mean that development around you has taken his home or that sport hunters have taken his food.  Nature is perfectly balanced until man enters the scene with a gun.  If you are living in an area where a wild cat has called home and the cat is transported to another suitable habitat, then you can be sure the cat is being dumped into some other cat’s territory and one of them is going to die. You may reason that your home is in a busy city environment and the cat is in peril because it is crossing busy highways and coming in close contact with people with guns. That is true and that is sad but relocating the cat is not the answer.

Bobcats are smart and can live right alongside people and stay out of trouble.  They are a great asset as they prey upon rats and help control disease by keeping the vermin population in check.  Nature is perfectly balanced until man steps in and starts trying to eliminate key animals in the cycle of life.

Get a brochure you can print and share:  Living with Bobcats

Check out these great suggestions for protecting your pets from predation: Protecting pets from bobcats and cougars.

 

 

See How Tigers are Helping Bobcats

 

 

Bobcat’s visit raises natural question

Bobcats belong in the wildSherry Boas | Simply Living

November 4, 2007

I went outside to feed the birds today and saw a bobcat.

He (or she) was about 200 feet away, resting on the ground in front of the compost pile.

Compost piles are wildlife magnets. The odiferous porridge of kitchen wastes attracts mammals large and small. I’ve watched foxes and raccoons explore these bins of human detritus, but this was the first time a bobcat showed interest in the family dumping ground for avocado pits, eggshells, burnt rice and apple cores.

The bobcat, a tawny mass of cropped fur and pointy ears, looked comfortable. Like an oversized house cat who had just polished off a hearty meal, he rested contentedly on the matted grass. We eyed each other from afar. I squatted low, to appear less threatening. The cat simply stared in my direction, tufted ears at full attention, assessing the menace.

Reluctant to miss anything, but eager to immortalize this special moment, I rose slowly and slipped back into the house. Unfortunately, my camera wasn’t hanging on the hook next to the kitchen door as I assumed it would be.

Not wanting to waste precious time searching the house, I eased back outside. By then, the bobcat had risen, but remained in the same place.

The feral feline must have realized (correctly) that I was harmless, because he proceeded to stretch with a long, leisurely gee-I-wish-you-hadn’t-disturbed-me arch of the back. Standing my ground, I watched in awe.

Moments later, the object of my attention ambled off toward a more sheltered environ. There was nothing frantic or fearful about his movements. His graceful gait was slow and steady. I watched as he rounded the corner, disappearing from sight. Wanting more, I followed in his wake, moving as quietly as my bare feet would allow.

bobcat kitten in treeAs I approached, I noticed the bobcat had paused beneath the overhanging branches of a nearby mulberry tree. The low-hanging limbs of the leafy fruit tree provided a tangled web that blended perfectly with his reddish-brown fur. When I rounded the corner, the cat caught sight of me. He responded by moving toward the woods. My eyes followed his trail for an instant before he vanished into the brambly undergrowth.

My one-on-one moment with nature was over. My only photographs were mental snapshots of the bobcat’s movements. I rushed back inside, eager to share my experience with Ralph and Toby.

Although this was the first time I’ve seen a bobcat by the compost pile, it was not my first sighting. On at least a half dozen occasions, I’ve chanced upon bobcats on the property. Each encounter has been spectacular, a cherished gift. But these experiences concern me, too. I’m not scared for myself or for the safety of others, but for the bobcats themselves. Every peek into the waning wilderness reminds me of what we have to lose.

So much untamed land has already been developed. What will happen to the bobcats, bears, deer, foxes and coyotes when people eliminate even more woods to make way for shopping centers, residential communities and industrial complexes?

The Florida panther is endangered. According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), only about 100 of these magnificent mammals remain in the wild. About a million bobcats roam throughout North America. In Florida, they are neither endangered nor threatened. But how long can that last?

Bobcats are solitary hunters. A male needs about 4,900 acres of field and forest in order to supply its carnivorous needs. A female needs 2,900 acres. That’s so much land. While these dog-size consumers of rats, mice, birds and rabbits can adapt to eating out of compost piles, foraging through trash cans and licking the remains of pet food bowls, it’s unlikely suburban residents will welcome their arrival to the neighborhood. Any nondomesticated creature that wanders into suburbia is more apt to arouse panic than peaceful observation and gratitude.

That’s not how I feel. I’m grateful for any chance to see a wild animal — large or small, on foot, wing or water.

I went out to feed the birds today and wound up feeding my own insatiable appetite for wildlife encounters. The few minutes the bobcat and I shared made an impression that will last for years. Will moments like this continue to happen? I don’t know, but I hope they will. I hope time is gentle to bobcats and the many other creatures whose fate relies heavily on the course of human actions.

Sherry Boas can be reached at simplyliving@beautifulbamboo.com.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/columnists/orl-orsimply0407nov04,0,1471984.column

 

In FL Nuisance Animals Are Killed, Not Relocated

Keep this in mind before you call someone and ask them to relocate a wild animal.  It is against the law for a trapper to relocate a problem animal.  They have to kill him or her by state law.

1/29/2009 The following is the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s position on killing nuisance bobcats instead of relocating them or allowing them to be given sanctuary at Big Cat Rescue and other such sanctuaries.

“We sincerely appreciate and share your concerns for Florida’s wildlife, particularly in the recent incident in which a bobcat was euthanized after it was captured by a nuisance wildlife trapper in an Orlando community.

Nobody likes to see an animal killed like this, whether the reason makes sense biologically or for public safety, or not. In fact, allowing nuisance animals to be euthanized is something we would rather not do, and we consider that to be a last resort. This particular incident is very sad and unfortunate, but as is often the case, it may have resulted from inappropriate behavior by people.

The staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is dedicated to wildlife conservation, which means protecting and managing wildlife species. So allowing an animal like this bobcat to be euthanized may seem counter to our agency’s mission. But, as unfortunate as it is, this bobcat was an example of an animal for which there was no good alternative other than euthanasia.

Many people have called our agency to ask why this bobcat couldn’t be taken to a zoo or other type of captive wildlife facility. The reason is that it’s difficult or impossible for many animals taken from the wild to adapt to living in a captive situation. As a result, most captive wildlife facilities are hesitant to take them because the animals become stressed, are subject to illness, fight with other animals and introduce disease into the facility.

People also asked why it couldn’t be relocated to the wild. There are many reasons for this, which are explained below, but the bottom line is that this animal had become too accustomed to being around people and no longer had much fear of them.

How this unnatural behavior happened is unknown, but the fact remains that it did. The bobcat was no longer acting like a wild bobcat. People in the community may have allowed it to eat pet food, or may even have set out food specifically for the bobcat. Or maybe nobody did anything to discourage it from hanging around. Maybe at first it was a novelty to see a bobcat up close, perhaps a good photo opportunity. So people tiptoed around the bobcat, and nobody tried to scare it away.

Or maybe the bobcat was sick; sick animals often exhibit unnatural behaviors and sometimes may lose their fear of people.

A wild animal that loses its fear and becomes comfortable around people, for whatever reason, is not a wild animal you want in your neighborhood. An animal like this becomes unpredictable and could easily injure someone. If it is sick and attacks someone the problems are even worse.

Moving an animal such as this bobcat provides an opportunity for it to become the same problem animal in a different neighborhood, or perhaps it could even spread disease to other wild animals in a new area.

Studies have shown that many relocated wild animals often try to return home – no matter how far away home is. Along the way an animal like this bobcat may find another neighborhood whose residents offer the same amenities – generally easy meals and few threats to its safety. The nuisance problems then start all over again in a new community.

Relocated animals cross unfamiliar roads and often get hit and injured or killed by vehicles. And, they end up in another bobcat’s established territory, alone and unfamiliar with the lay of the land. They often fall victim to fights that are frequently won by the resident animal.

The best solution to wild animals becoming nuisance animals is people – you and me – making sure that our actions don’t cause wild animals to change their behaviors. The key is in knowing how to live with them. Even in a state with seemingly runaway development, we can and often do co-exist with many wild animals. If people do the right things, then harm usually won’t come to either us or the animals.

If this is to work, it may require some people to modify their own behavior. How much you have to modify often depends upon where you live or how recently your neighborhood was built. It is often a real benefit to live right next to wetlands or woods, but if you do, you probably have lots of wildlife neighbors, some of which are looking for easy meals.

One of the surest ways to make a wild animal lose its fear of people and become a nuisance is to leave your pet’s food outside. For that matter, leaving any kind of food outside can attract wild critters. If we leave our garbage in an unsecured trash can, it can become a buffet for raccoons, bears, opossums and other wild animals. The seemingly innocuous birdfeeders can sometimes attract much more than birds. Even compost piles are heavenly to some wildlife. Unfortunately, in the end, all of these foods that humans provide unwittingly to wild critters can lead to the death of those wild critters who are so tempted by them.

We are all affected when the wild animals become used to people, then are branded nuisances and are sentenced to death. Nobody likes that, but often people can make small changes in their actions and prevent it from happening.

I hope this helps you understand some of the issues we face when humans and wildlife interact in these situations, as well as some of the solutions.

You may also find the enclosed document useful. It explains some of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s nuisance wildlife rules and provides a little more information about why it’s rarely a good idea to relocate wildlife.

Again, thank you for your heartfelt concern, and please know that we share many of your concerns.

Sincerely,

Sabrina Menendez

FWC Citizen Services”

Update 2010:  Thanks to so many Big Cat Rescuers showing up to ask the FWC to protect the bobcat, they revised their ruling that all trapped bobcats must be killed to say that the bobcat must be released as close to the point of pick up as possible and that it must be on at least 40 acres, in the same county and there must be a signed approval for release by the owner of the property OR the bobcat has to be killed.

 

Why so many cougar attacks and cougar sightings?

Every day there is a story in a paper somewhere in the U.S. about cougar or mountain lion sightings in areas where the cats have not existed in the wild in over 100 years. Why is that? Could it possibly be that despite the fact that extinction rates are more than 1000 times greater than they should be due to the uncontrolled population growth of man and our extermination of everything in our path, the cougar is making a come back? That is what the fish and game departments across the country are claiming, but that is because they make their money from the issuance of permits to kill big cats. Hunters have wiped out the Jaguar for the most part and the cougar only exists in a few areas. Fish and game “experts” would have us believe that despite the fact that the big cats have been driven to extinction in most of their ranges around the world, that miraculously, the much-prized-trophy-cougar is alive and well and a public menace to boot.

Consider a much more likely scenario: The cougars who are being spotted in areas where they haven’t lived in up to 200 years, who are brazen enough to walk through subdivisions, and nap in trees above the family mini van, and who are living off eating dogs and cats and other domestic animals are the pets and captive born breeders turned loose due to the new law that makes it illegal to sell cougars across state lines. The Captive Wild Animal Safety Act was signed into law in Dec. 2003 by President Bush and immediately there was a flurry of cougar sightings. In every case the stories paint a portrait of a cougar nonchalantly strolling through a neighborhood. This is the behaviour of an animal born and raised around people, not a wild animal.

They had a hard time explaining why one of them who was hit by a car
turned out to be declawed.

Delighted with the prospect of being able to sell permits to shoot the majestic cats the department of natural resources keeps assuring the public that these are wild cougars and that blasting them out of the trees is done in the name of public safety. They had a hard time explaining why one of them who was hit by a car turned out to be declawed.

 

 

 

Big Cat Rescue tracked the calls we received from people trying to get rid of unwanted big cats over the past decade:

	Unwanted	We Took	Found	We Offered	We Took
	Big Cats	These	Homes	To Take	These
			For These
1999	55	13	*	*	7 tigers, 2 cougars, 2 bobcats, 2 servals
2000	54	11	*	*	7 tigers, 2 jungle cats + hybrids
2001	78	10	6	*	2 lions, 4 bobcats + hybrids
2002	74	4	0	*	2 tigers, 1 leopard, 1 bobcat
2003	312	8	4	*	2 jaguars, 1 leopard, 3 bobcats, + hybrids
2004	110	6	3	*	5 tigers, 1 lion
2005	94	9	2	*	6 tigers, 3 cougars; Ares, Artemis, Orion
2006	79	0	0	*	none other than hybrids
2007	67	13	1	*	6 tigers, 2 lions, 5 rehab bobcats *who are not incl in list of abandoned cats
2008	85	3	0	22	2 tigers, 1 liger:  Cookie, Alex, Freckles
2009	50	2	0	17	1 cougar, 1 serval;  Sophia and Desiree
2010	89	9	1	53	3 cougars, Narla, Freddy, Sassy, 5 bobcats and a serval named Servie
	1147	88	17

 

…these cats are being turned loose to fend
for themselves. 

Every year that number was growing dramatically, but in the year following the new law prohibiting the sale of big cats across state lines as pets, the number dropped by 1/3. The only other marginal drop was right after 9/11 and that coincided with a huge drop in discretionary spending.

It is a shame that these cats are being turned loose to fend for themselves. They don’t have the skills and some cases don’t even have the claws, to catch their own food. Those who are not shot will probably starve to death and in time we will start to see a drop in the number of sightings reported. The only good news is that this new federal law has been effective at curbing the number of cougars and lions that are being born for a life of misery and captivity.

People are still getting around the prohibition on big cats as pets by calling themselves educators or sanctuaries. Big Cat Rescue is working hard to close the loopholes in the laws that allow people to exploit big cats for profit. Please bookmark our page on Laws to keep up on the latest efforts to make the world a safer place for people and the exotic cats.

How do the wildlife agencies make it worse?

Nature has become purposely imbalanced by our wildlife agencies in order to insure that there are plenty of animals to be killed for fun and profit. Cougars prefer deer and rabbits to people, but our wildlife departments make money from selling permits to the 5% of our population that enjoying killing the cougar’s natural prey. This is often done in excess so that the cougars appear to be a public menace so that the state’s fish and game departments can then gain public support to sell the permits to kill the highly prized cougars.

Fact:  Only 5% (12.5 million) of our population are hunters, yet they kill over 115
million animals each year for fun.

These are just the animals that licensed hunters report killing and do not include all the animals who are poached each year by those who believe that they are above the law.  Even more despicable are the canned hunts where far too many exotic cats end up when they are discarded from zoos, circus acts and pet owners.  Although it is illegal to kill most endangered species, the practice is common and for the right price and a guarantee of secrecy trophy hunters can kill a tiger or leopard while it sits in a cage.  If this isn’t bad enough consider the fact that they don’t want to ruin the trophy and will therefore aim for areas that cause a slow and painful death.

Wild cats do not purchase hunting licenses and most state wildlife managers draw their pay from revenue derived from the sale of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses.  That, in brief, is what is wrong with wildlife management in America.  In the US the decisions to protect or destroy, conserve or control, restore populations or reduce them are made by the interest of hunters.  The 93% of Americans who do not hunt have been effectively excluded from the decision making process.  Now that more caring people are trying to get involved, the state’s are fighting as never before to keep them out.  Understanding the hunter’s hold on wildlife is the critical first step to loosening that grip.

Hunting and fishing licenses are not simply issued by the state, but sold for a fee. Normally, these fees would be deposited in a state’s general treasury, and from there appropriated to whatever state programs the public, acting through their elected legislators, consider important. Instead, however, the conservation lobby persuaded state legislatures to dedicate hunting and fishing license fees to conservation programs. This means that license fees go directly to the state’s wildlife management agency, effectively insulating it from the legislature’s – and thereby the public’s – most effective means of oversight, the power of the purse. In a very real sense, state wildlife agency staff are not public servants, they are employees of the hunters and fishers whose license fees fund their programs and pay their salaries.

In 2006  12.5 million hunters  spent $23 billion on their sport of which  $642,069,054 went to wildlife agencies. 71 million wildlife watchers spent $45 billion in 2001, nearly twice as much as hunters, a fact generally ignored by state wildlife agencies when they tout the economic benefits of hunting.  Since wildlife watchers do not have to purchase licenses or tags and they do not pay a  tax on their equipment, the percentage of their $45 billion that went to wildlife agencies was exactly zero.  Who do you think the wildlife agencies are working for?

In 2006 Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older fed, observed, or photographed wildlife. These wildlife watchers increased in number by 8% from 2001 to 2006. Their expenditures for wildlife-watching equipment (binoculars, cameras, etc.) increased by 20% and for wildlife-watching trips by 40%.

The mass murder and manipulation of wild animals is just another business.  Hunters are a tiny minority, and it’s crucial to them that the millions of people who don’t hunt not be awakened from their long sleep and become anti hunting. (Williams 1990) In 1995 the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS attempted to compile information about the structure of the wildlife commissions across the nation.  Seventeen states refused to respond, indicating their disdain for animal lover’s involvement in THEIR business.  The remaining states admitted that their boards are dominated by consumptive wildlife users.   Several of these are people who own canned hunting operations. Most important is to note, that by their own admission, none of their commission members are opposed to hunting. Consider now the fact that another poll of the public, taken the same year, showed that 93% do not hunt and that most Americans are opposed to the brutal practice.  Clearly these governing boards are not representing the majority of the people in their wildlife management policies.

The myth that we have been expected to buy into says; “We have to kill animals so that they don’t over populate and starve to death.”  The fact is that habitat is managed for maximum deer and duck numbers; wildlife is trapped and transplanted to the killing fields; fires are set; trees are planted or mown down; fields are flooded and fields are drained all to maximize the numbers of animals available to hunters for the joy of killing.  Natural predators, such as Cougars, Bobcats, Lynx, Wolves and Coyotes are killed by the thousands so that they don’t compete with the hunters.

The predominance of Aldo Leopold’s philosophy in wildlife management assures that our incredible war on wildlife can continue indefinitely. It is, in fact, the only war in history conducted by rules that were deliberately designed to keep it from ending. The conservation philosophy was created to guarantee that animals will continue to suffer and die at the hands of hunters forever. It is a philosophy of animal abuse in perpetuity.

Florida spends more on wildlife law enforcement than it does on wildlife and fisheries management combined.  This is typical of most states.  We expect to pay our officers to protect the unbridled exploitation of our state’s wildlife, but the bulk of the budget is spent to ensure that the licensed hunters and anglers are obeying the law regarding size, weight and number of kills.  These expenditures would be virtually un necessary if there were no hunting.  This fact undermines the assertion made by the hunting industry that it pays for wildlife and parks.  At the very best, hunters pay to produce lots of animals that they want to kill and pay to enforce regulations to keep each other from killing too many of them or in an illegal
manner.

The numbers killed are staggering.  These figures all came from reported kills, in just one recent year,  by licensed hunters and do not include
animals that were killed illegally:  

Bears         25,729

Bobcats     40,008

Cougar       2,109

Coyote     491,298

Deer       6,189,116

Ducks   10,119,700

Fox            367,527

Otter           18,896

Rabbits  11,492,357

As people become more enlightened fewer and fewer people each year are taking up hunting as a sport. To change this trend, the hunters and the state’s wildlife agencies are promoting hunting to children.  Faced with declining numbers of hunters and an increasing population of non consumptive wildlife users, the states are circling the wagons to protect hunting.  Instead of seriously seeking alternative sources of funding, ways to include the non hunting public, and management that emphasizes non hunted species, they are trying to increase hunter numbers so that they don’t have to change the status quo.  Your tax dollars are paying for promotional campaigns to urge children as young as 6 to get involved in trapping and killing animals because it has been discovered that if a child is not exposed to this sort of violence during their formative years, they will be very unlikely to be able to stomach the thought of killing for pleasure as an adult.  Animal abuse is directly linked to human abuse and murder.

For more details read:  Teach Our Children.

Five percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older, 12.5 million people, hunted in 2006. The number of all hunters declined by 4% from 2001 to 2006.  Wildlife agencies are now targeting children as young as 10 and women as the hunters of the future by portraying the killing of animals as a way to feel empowered in their world.  See USFWS 2006 report.

What can we do to stop the violence?

The answer lies in becoming active and speaking out.  Most of us feel the same way, but we aren’t being heard, because we are standing idly by waiting for someone else to do the right thing.  Most wildlife commissioners are appointed by the governor.

Use your state’s freedom of information act to find out how members are appointed to your board and what their position really is on wildlife protection.  Make sure that plenty of non hunters attend each meeting of your wildlife commission.  Make sure that they attend to important issues like hound hunting, baiting, long trap check intervals, hunting contests, children recruitment policies and how animals are identified as being so unworthy of protection that there is unlimited, open season on their killing.

Speak out calmly and professionally.  To act irrational and thus label all people who care as being unstable won’t help the animals.  Ask the commission to schedule votes on these issues and to go on the record about their support of them.  Get the press involved to cover the meetings and the failure of the commission to act in favour of reasonable wildlife protection measures.  The media wants to print articles that will be favourable to the masses and the masses have said that they are not in favour of hunting.

Work to change the composition of the commission to include members who are not hunters.  Lobby the governor’s office to appoint qualified candidates who represent the majority of the people in your state.  If these candidates are continually passed over in favour of less
qualified hunters, then let the media know about it.  Work with your state legislator so see if perhaps a ballot initiative might be implemented to restructure the commission. 

Lobby members of the appropriate committees in your state legislature to earmark general funds for the support of the wildlife department.  With enough funding we can demand that our concerns be seriously addressed by the commission and the department.

If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can find them on line by clicking on the lion at the left.

115 million animals are counting on YOU to speak out for them this year.

IL Ban Bobcat Pelt Sales

IL Ban Bobcat Pelt Sales

Ban the Sale of Bobcat Pelts in Illinois

We don’t know many people in IL so every single one of you makes a huge difference.

I usually try to make these things as easy as possible for our cat loving fans to do, but some states make it difficult.  Despite much opposition from people like you IL opened up bobcat hunting and trapping, so animal activists have countered with a bill to ban the sale of the pelts.

If they can’t profit from it, then it will reduce the number of bobcats who are tortured and killed.

Please save bobcats from suffering by taking the steps below:

Illinois supporters ONLY can support the bill by clicking here:

http://my.ilga.gov/WitnessSlip/Create/91620?committeeHearingId=13478&LegislationId=91620&SCommittees3%2F16%2F2016-page=1&committeeid=0&chamber=S&nodays=7&_=1457556845203

 

Here are the steps for showing support.

 

Section I IDENTIFICATION

Fill out name and address info

Use “Big Cat Rescue” for Firm/Business etc (or however you’d like supporters to identify themselves)

My Bobcat is in Rehab TEE Black

Big Cat Rescue saves bobcats who have been injured and rehabs them for release back to the wild. Every shirt sold helps fund our bobcat rehab program.

Use “Citizen” or “Individual” for Title

Fill in email and phone info

Section II REPRESENTATION

Use “myself”

Section III POSITION

Check “Proponent”

Section IV TESTIMONY

Check “Record of Appearance Only”

 

Thank you for taking the time to help save bobcats in Illinois from hunters and trappers.  To learn why so many bobcats are being trapped in the U.S. read this report on the huge numbers of our native bobcats who are being trapped and killed to be sold in Russia.  Be ware, the images are graphic, but the numbers are even more frightening.  http://bigcatrescue.org/trade-in-bobcats-and-lynx-2004-2008/

Poseidon

Poseidon

Poseidon Bobcat Rescued in Port Charlotte

Rescued 2/16/2016 10:40 PM 3504 Ogden St Port Charlotte, FL Died 2/19/2016

I would have thought that time had stood still because Jamie was poised, net in the air, leaning impossibly into the space between us on one foot, and she had stopped moving.  Interns, Martin and Devin had also stopped mid step with her.  You could hear a pin drop into the high grass that was up past our knees, and the freezing cold water that was up over our ankles.  It was like how a live feed just freezes, but you aren’t sure if the connection has died, or if all has just gone very, very still.

In Honor PoseidonMy racing heart told me that time hadn’t stopped, but everything around the center attraction had.

At the center of this bizarre scene was a bobcat who had been seen vomiting on the side of the road.

A cat vomiting is hardly an emergency situation and certainly not one you would drive two hours to witness, but this one seemed to have extenuating circumstances.  Around 6PM a call came in from a Port Charlotte woman named Sandy, who said she had been on her way to the ER regarding her mother, and had seen a bobcat vomiting on the side of the road.  When asked to identify what the cat looked like, as most people don’t have any idea what a bobcat looks like, she said, “Well…it looks like a bobcat.”

Jamie asked what a bobcat looked like to Sandy and she said it had a six inch long tail and was half the size of a German Shepherd dog.  Before driving 4 hours, round trip, Jamie asked for a cell phone photo, but the woman was too busy with her mother and the hospital.  She said her husband had taken some video, but Jamie wasn’t sure they would be willing to pay the data transfer rate to send it.  I queried our database and found 103 people in Port Charlotte.  I emailed and asked if any of them would drive to the approximated address of Ogden Street, and tell me if there was really a bobcat there.

Over the next few hours, 11 people responded, and several drove to the scene.  All but two said there was no bobcat to be seen.  Meanwhile the caller did get a photo and did send the video, but we were already on our way.  Two of the people we emailed said they saw the bobcat and that they were certain they could wrestle him into a carrier, but Jamie convinced them not to try as the bobcat could hurt them or run off and be impossible for us to find and help.

Two hours seemed like two days, but Jamie used the time to prepare our interns for what was to come.  I’m always surprised that after dealing with bobcats, and knowing how mean they can be, that when we say we need volunteers to help rescue one in the wild, they are so eager and fearless to help.  Even when answering the question, “what’s the worst you’ve ever been hurt rescuing a bobcat” by saying, “I haven’t had to peel one off my face yet,” they are still keen to give it a shot.

As we pulled up on the scene, Sandy’s husband was dutifully keeping an eye on the bobcat.  He brought us up to speed with important facts like how long the cat had been sitting there (5 hours by this time) how close he had been able to get without the cat running (about 10 feet) and he gave us the low down on bobcats in the area, and how they get along with the domestic cats.  He and I both held flashlights on the bobcat’s face, so that Jamie, Martin and Devin could circle around behind him and on the side that was open to the road.

The last thing you ever want to do in a bobcat rescue is chase the wounded cat into the path of another car.

The bobcat was on a dry patch of ground, surrounded by the cold water and knee high saw grass.  Jamie asked me to make little sounds with my feet, each time he tensed as if he was going to bolt, to divert his attention away from the approaching captors.

He looked pretty washed up; like he had given up and was just waiting to die.  He smelled like he had been dead for three days.  It was gaggingly wretched to breathe the air surrounding him.  Despite that though, you could tell that if he could make a break for it, he was going to give it a try.  That’s when Jamie, Devin and Martin had frozen in mid step.

In a motion too quick for me to see, and just a fraction of a second too quick for the bobcat to respond, Jamie’s net was down over him.  He leapt against it and thrashed wildly, but Devin and Martin came down with their nets with amazing accuracy and speed.

Netted.  Check!

In the carrier.  Not yet.

But Jamie had described how it would need to go, and ran the interns through it one more time to make sure they knew where their nets had to be, and what to do if he managed to slip free during the transfer from the net to the carrier.  Given the fact that he looked to be covered in mange, and thoroughly chewed up by some animal, she warned them again not to touch him; no matter what.

You would think the team had done this together for years; it went so smoothly!  The husband and wife who had originally called in the incident were now both standing there and nearly broke into applause over the successful capture.  Now for the two hour drive back to Big Cat Rescue where Dr. Justin would be done with Mrs. Claws and waiting for the bobcat who was soon to be named Poseidon.

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-Carrier

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-Captured

 

The Vet Examines Poseidon Bobcat

X-rays didn’t show any broken bones.  As suspected, the bobcat was covered in mange and had been beaten up by another animal.  His face is oozing from the mange infestation. He has a BB under the skin, indicating someone shot at him.  He has a belly full of bones, and he may have trouble passing them, as he is so dehydrated.

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-xray

His face and elbow have been bitten pretty badly. We have to treat the handling of him, as if he has rabies, since we don’t know what bit him.

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-Mange

He’s getting 400 ML of sub q fluids, treatment for the parasites, a long acting antibiotic and pain meds. 6 injections. No broken bones. Poseidon is recovering in our office because the hospital is full.

Poseidon Bobcat Has Died Feb 19, 2016

Sadly Poseidon Bobcat passed away last night sometime between 12-4 AM. Yesterday he seemed to be turning the corner and ate about 3 oz of food, then in the early evening he crashed. We tried fluids, and different medications, but nothing helped. He became unresponsive and could not regulate his body temperature and so he was put on a heating pad. At least he passed away in a safe place comfortable and in his sleep. We will be sending him out to a specialist for a necropsy. We suspect several things including neurological disease, sepsis from his skin infection, and poisoning. Thank you to everyone who helped bring him in and provide him with such special care during his final days.

Poseidon bobcat update Feb 18, 2016

He’s moving from one side of the cage to the other, with considerable effort, and has drank on his own, but still isn’t eating.  We are having to give him injections for pain and antibiotics.

Poseidon bobcat update Feb 17, 2016:

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-CratePoseidon is alive this morning and already looking a LOT better than he did last night. He is sitting up and drinking on his own.

 

Photos and Videos

Facebook album:  https://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue/photos/a.10153311049176957.1073741902.122174836956/10153311051371957/?type=3&theater

Dropbox link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uvxchcv72eok1mu/AABoEAhieVdPPH_B-Ta7ej5qa?dl=0

Watch our Rehab Bobcats LIVE on this explore.org web cam: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

Poseidon-Bobcat-Rehab-Office

 

See who else is in rehab now:

 

My Bobcat is in Rehab TEE Black

Every tee shirt purchased helps get bobcats back to the wild, where they belong…and you’ll look cool too.

Thor http://bigcatrescue.org/thor

Mr and Mrs Claws http://bigcatrescue.org/the-claws

Find out more about some of our recent bobcat rescues, rehab and their release:

Rain and Dancer http://bigcatrescue.org/release-of-rain-and-dancer-bobcats/

Phoenix and Captiva:  http://bigcatrescue.org/phoenix-rehab/ and here:  http://bigcatrescue.org/4-bobcat-kittens/

Release of Rain and Dancer Bobcats

Release of Rain and Dancer Bobcats

Rehab Bobcat Release!

Today is the big day for the release of Rain and Dancer the Bobcats. Thanks to our first time partnership with The Nature Conservancy Florida we can give these precious bobcats a safe place in the wild to call home, the Conservancy’s Venus Flatwoods Preserve.  Be sure to LIKE them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NatureConservancyFL

The cats, rescued in July 2015, were released to the Preserve on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

Venus Flatwoods Preserve is located in Highlands County, west of Lake Okeechobee, and has been protected and managed by The Nature Conservancy for over 20 years. This 100-acre property provides the perfect habitat for the bobcats. The preserve includes one of the few remaining areas of old growth longleaf pine forest in Florida and is home to many species of wildlife. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker has been observed onsite. The property is surrounded by timber, citrus, and cattle ranch land, and its borders are not adjacent to highways or heavily trafficked areas that would endanger the cats.

Rain Dancer Release Team

“The Nature Conservancy’s Venus Flatwoods Preserve is the perfect location for these two young bobcats. We expect them to do very well in the healthy, maintained habitat of this protected property,” said Adam Peterson, Central Florida Fire and Land Management Specialist, The Nature Conservancy.

Rain Dancer ReleaseThe sibling bobcats, named Rain (male) and Dancer (female), were rescued by Big Cat Rescue as kittens when they were found on the side of a highway without their mother in Highlands County. Thanks to the efforts of Big Cat Rescue’s bobcat rehabilitation team, the wild cats were provided with the care and training they needed to be returned to the wild. Cameras will be set up on the preserve in an effort to continue to monitor the now nine-month old cats.

“Rain and Dancer have grown up to become strong, healthy bobcats equipped with the skills to return to the wild where they belong,” said Jamie Veronica, President of Big Cat Rescue. “We are thrilled that they will be released on a vast, protected property where they will be able to find everything they need to thrive.”

Bobcats are found throughout Florida. They prefer deep forests, and are also adaptable to swamps, hammock, and rural landscapes, as well as urban and suburban backyards.

You can read more about their Rain and Dancer’s initial rescue here.  https://bigcatrescue.org/4-bobcat-kittens/

Rain and Dancer have been released! Watch it via Periscope / Twitter herehttps://www.periscope.tv/w/1eaKboQOrreGX

Rain and Dancer’s Life in Videos

See Rain and Dancer getting their shots.  We use a killed virus vaccine to protect them against the same cat diseases that your domestic cats can get.

Watch the video of Rain and Dancer, the bobcat kittens, moving from the on site Cat Hospital to the Rehab enclosures.

Rain and Dancer are all grown up and ready to go start their new life in the wild.

Today (Feb 4 2016) you can watch our Facebook feed for live streaming events around their release at https://www.facebook.com/bigcatrescue

Love Kittens?

If you love bobcats kittens and want to be part of our efforts to rescue them from certain death, rehab them for life in the wild and then have the pleasure of helping them get back to the wild where they belong, there are several ways you can help.

Donate

Give to Big Cat Rescue

Wear With Pride

My Bobcat is in Rehab

Share!

Even if you can’t afford to help, you are their voice.  Please be sure to subscribe and share all of our social channels.  Just look for BigCatRescue on all of your favorite sharing sites.  Use hashtags #BigCatRescue #bobcats and @BigCatRescue

Phoenix Rehab

Phoenix Rehab

Phoenix and Captiva

(Warning to chicken lovers, there is a photo on the page of the bobcat eating a chick.  These chicks arrive frozen and are the byproduct of the egg industry.  All male chicks are usually disposed of at birth.  We buy them to feed our cats because whole prey is the most wholesome for the cats.) 

Rehab Bobcat Kitten Adult Phoenix

We have cameras on the outdoor enclosures, but not enough band width to open it up for public access.  Here is a screen capture:

Bobcat Kittens

Donate to big cats

 

This is just one section of their 5 section rehab run.

Rehab Bobcat Kittens 2015

Phoenix and Captiva ~ Rescued June 2015

Rehab-Bobcat-Kitten
There are two more mouths to feed at Big Cat Rescue! Phoenix and Captiva are two little Florida bobcat kittens who both lost their moms recently in very different, but equally awful ways.

Rehab-Bobcat-Kitten

Big Cat Rescue is a licensed bobcat rehabber here in Florida We plan to raise these guys at our sanctuary with as little human interaction as possible so they retain their wildness. When they are full grown, we will teach the kittens to hunt and release them back to the wild in a rural area of Florida.

Rehab-Bobcat-Kitten

If you’d like to donate to the care and upbringing of these amazing kittens, click HERE.

 

Phoenix

Phoenix managed to live through a forest fire last week in Lee County, Florida.  Officials hoped to reunite the kitten with his mother, by leaving him near where he was found after an initial assessment that he seemed ok. But three days later, the kitten was dehydrated and still calling frantically for his mother, so he was sent on June 1 to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW). Staff at CROW evaluated Phoenix and helped him recover well before delivering both kittens to Big Cat Rescue on June 25, 2015 for the next phase of their rehab for release.

Rehab-Bobcat-Kitten

We think there could be no more appropriate name than Phoenix, the mythological symbol who raises from the ashes to be reborn.

Here is a compilation of news stories about Phoenix:

 

June 1, 2015: The baby bobcat rescued from a massive brush fire in Lee County last week just underwent a physical at CROW – Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc. Staff says recovery is going well for the kitten. Click here to read more about the rescue: http://bit.ly/1GiR4xE

News updates http://www.nbc-2.com/story/29221676/bobcat-kitten-improves-despite-burns#.VXCyd1xVhBc

http://www.wptv.com/news/state/florida-bobcat-kitten-on-the-mend-after-rescue

 

Captiva

Rehab-BobcatThe larger kitten doesn’t have a name, and I am just using Captiva here as a holding space.

Captiva’s story is every bit as heart rending, but didn’t make the news.  She was the one Big Cat Rescue agreed to take first.  Gareth Johnson, the CROW Hospital Manager, worked with us a few years ago when we rehabbed and released bobcat Copter.  Gareth called Big Cat Rescue on June 1 to report that some people had trapped a bobcat kitten and then left it in the trap without food or water for a couple days before deciding they should feed her something.  Of course, they had no idea what to feed a 4-week-old nursing bobcat kitten, so what they fed her made her sick. Lucky for Captiva, they finally made a good decision and dropped her off at CROW.  The kitten was stabilized, despite the fact that she arrived in such bad shape no one thought that was possible.

CROW has state of the art medical facilities, but is not set up for bobcat rehab. Raising and rehabilitation a bobcat requires a lot of space and infrastructure.  Gareth called and asked if we would be able to take the little one.  I told him that I’d be happy to drive the 5-hour round trip to pick up the little darling.  Gareth wanted to do a SNAP test first and said he’d call me to come get her as soon as that was done.

Meanwhile Phoenix, the bobcat kitten who survived the forest fire, was directed by the Florida Wildlife Commission to be sent to CROW and he arrived that same evening, June 1.

 

More photos of Phoenix and Captiva

 

Phoenix-Rehab

Rehab-Bobcat_5427113543011086466_o Phoenix-Rehab-Bobcat-5 Phoenix-Rehab-Bobcat-4 Phoenix-Rehab-Bobcat-1
Phoenix and Captive Bobcats get two new friends!

http://bigcatrescue.org/4-bobcat-kittens/

 

 

 

Bobcat Calls

Bobcat Calls

It’s not even 2 days into the new year and I got another bobcat call.

I was on my way in to work when I got a call from our Gift Shop that a man had walked in and asked if we were missing a bobcat.  I’m always surprised at how many Floridians don’t know that bobcats are native to our state.  What had started out as a beautiful morning, quickly turned dark and dreadful.

As I approached the location it was clear, from the beautiful spotted underbelly facing the sky, that the animal who was being hit time and time again by motorists, was indeed a bobcat.  I waited for a break in traffic to run out and retrieve her broken body.  Usually bobcats seem to make it out of the roadway, or at least to the shoulder of the road, but she had been crushed so many times, that it felt like my heart would break into as many shards, when I felt her in my trembling hands. I thought about the male bobcat who had lost his life at this same crossing just a little over a month ago.  On both sides of Sheldon Road there is massive development underway to add more stores, homes and a recent emergency clinic.  Ironic…

BobcatsHitByCarCitrusPark

I vowed to create a document to track all of these calls.  We have done a good job of documenting the bobcats we have rescued, but what about all of the times when we didn’t get there in time?  We have gotten 12 bobcat calls in the last year; four of them were dead on arrival and we never did find the fifth bobcat, although we did find blood on the pavement.  Right now we have 6 bobcat kittens in rehab and hope to release all of them this year.  While it brings great joy to return them to their rightful place, it is just barely enough to make up for the pain of finding the broken bodies of those we can’t help.

So many campaigns suggest that you should give wildlife a “brake” and it’s a lovely sentiment, but it you have ever seen a bobcat run, then you know there is no way a person could avoid hitting one if the cat darted out in front of them.  The only real solution is to build under and over passes that connect major green ways for the animals and high fences with a cantilever at the top to keep wildlife from scaling them.  The straight, 8 foot fences that are used current are totally inadequate.  These are pricey projects, but without them we will lose our wildlife and all that is beautiful and pure in this world.

BrakeForWildlife

We are working hard to end the private possession of exotic cats and doing so would put us out of business.  We really look forward to that day, but I know that won’t be an end to the long days and sleepless nights.  We will always provide rehab and release for native bobcats and that need seems to be increasing.  It’s hard to know if the number of bobcat calls are escalating, or if it is just that people know to call us now, because we are so well known for our premiere rehab facilities.  12 calls were an all time high in 2015 and were three times higher than any year, dating back to 1994.  Even other rehabbers will often call us for the time consuming and costly process of getting a bobcat ready for release back to the wild.

Thanks to explore.org we have a webcam on one of our Rehab Bobcat enclosures where viewers can watch the current residents as they recover from injuries, or learn how to be bobcats when they grow up.  http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release

We have a major project underway at the sanctuary for a Small Cat Fun area, similar to our Vacation Rotation, but as soon as it is done we need to begin fundraising for a complete overhaul of our Bobcat Rehab enclosures.  We have had to temporarily outfit cages for bobcat rehab that were not designed for that purpose and while it works, and is better than any other options out there for rehab, it isn’t optimal.  We want to start from scratch to build rehab enclosures that are bigger, allow for more muscle toning, and that are further away from human encroachment.  With more than 30 years of bobcat rehab under out belts, we know what we need and think our donors will help us make it a reality.  If saving native bobcats and returning them to nature appeals to you, then you can help out here:

https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9489

To see some of our rehab bobcat rescue videos:

If saving native bobcats and returning them to nature appeals to you, then you can help out here:

https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=9489