Davenport Bobcat Rescue Effort
At 2 PM I was working with Gale, Darren and Matt to return Cloe the
snow leopard back to her enclosure when a call came in from a man who said that he had seen a bobcat in his backyard and he was concerned about whether or not the bobcat would hurt his pets and children. He was so frightened that he said when he saw the bobcat it went running in one direction and he went running in the other.
I didn't think too much about it but then about an hour later I got another call from a woman who had almost the exact same tale; that she had seen about cat in her backyard and she was worried about her grand-babies. Just like with the guy
before I explained to her why this was such a great thing to have a bobcat in the neighborhood. I explained how they help keep down the rabies vectors like the raccoons and possums and rats. I told them that they should count themselves lucky to have a bobcat as a neighbor.
The woman insisted that the bobcat was injured and I really felt like she was putting me on because she thought that was the only way that I was going to come out to relocate this bobcat. I went into great detail with her about how under Florida law once the bobcat is rehabilitated we have to take him back to the same place that we found him.
She kept insisting that the bobcat was truly injured and that his back leg looked like it was broken. I loaded up the truck, with the largest Hav-a-heart trap, nets, a catch pole and some chicks and drove and hour and a half to Davenport to check out the situation. Through the entire trip it was just pouring down rain and I wondered what the chances of finding a bobcat in a rainstorm were going to be like when I got there.
Upon arrival it quit raining and Dora flagged me down when she saw the Big Cat Rescue logo on my truck. She said that animal control had come and gone and she didn't know whether or not they had been successful because she had seen the bobcat run across the street, into an orange grove, and under the neighbor's house.
The house was surrounded by a locked fence. I had to drive around the block a couple of times looking for some way to be able to access the property or get the neighbors attention and had been unable to do. I got out on foot with my binoculars and was creeping around in the shrubbery trying to see under the house which was a fair distance from the fence.
A neighbor came over and concurred with the caller that the bobcat did in fact have a broken back leg. He said the bobcat had been hanging around for quite a while and was quite emaciated. The cat was in such miserable condition that he had even considered putting the bobcat out of his misery. Meanwhile he had set out cat food for the cat in hopes that he could gain the cat's trust enough to get him help.
The bobcat had crawled into about a six-inch space underneath an old frame home. The man agreed to check the trap periodically and make sure that we hadn't caught any of the roaming cats in the neighborhood or raccoons. He said that he would set them loose and reset the trap as needed and since he was right next door he can check the track every couple of hours so we'll just wait and see whether or not he's successful in catching the bobcat.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Caring for cats – Ending the trade
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