Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

Relocating Bobcats and Cougars

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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.

Bobcat Calls

Bobcat Calls

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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

Tommie

Tommie

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Tommie Girl

hear big cats

Female Bobcat
DOB appx 10/1/11 – 12/13/15
Rescued 3/6/12

 

 

Tommie the bobcat's rescuer Tommie DeanerOn Mar 5 we got a call from the Florida Wildlife Commission asking if we could help a blind bobcat that had been reported by the Manager of the Cemex Mine.  His name is Tommie and he loves the wildlife that calls his land a sanctuary.  He knew there was something desperately wrong with this little kitten from the first day he saw her, which was about two weeks before.

We made arrangements to drive up to the mine on Mar 6 to set a humane trap because the kitten had not been seen since Feb 27.  Jamie and I drove up with a trap, nets, carrier, and bait for four days and Tommie Deaner agreed to check and set the trap daily.

On the way to Center Hill Tommie texted that the bobcat was in sight and that he had caught some fish for her and was feeding her.  Jamie texted back to stop because traffic had us running a half hour late.  Since there was no way to get a fish away from a starving bobcat, Tommie improvised and got a box out of the trash to trap her in.

When Jamie and I drove up we were waved to the scene by Cemex staff.  When we saw the box we were thrilled at the prospect of NOT having to chase a bobcat all over place. The problem was that the box didn’t have a bottom.

tommie-girl-watchingWe slid a piece of plywood under the box, like you would pick up a spider with a cup and cardboard (per Jamie) and then put the whole thing in the van.  The plan was to shift her from the box to the carrier inside the van, so that if the bobcat escaped, she was at least trapped in the van… with us.  Well, that part wasn’t very appealing, but it was better than the risk of losing her and having her starve to death.

If you have never seen Jamie net a cat; you haven’t seen art in motion.  Quicker than a blink she had her in the net and backed up to the carrier door.  Since she really couldn’t see well enough to put up much of a fight, we got her in the carrier pretty neatly.  She growled for a while, but the belly full of fish and the swaying motion of the van for an hour and a half put her right to sleep.

She was suffering from starvation, blindness and parasites and was so badly debilitated that she will never be a candidate for release.  She has very limited, if any sight, so she will spend the rest of her life at Big Cat Rescue.

 

Tommie Girl watches Gale and the interns cleaning out Canyon Sandcat’s third section to prepare it for a tunnel, all of the weeds out of Nirvana Ocelot’s enclosure and many more landscaping projects.

On 12/13/15 Tommie Girl was found laying next to her water bowl, completely drenched, as if she had a seizure and had dumped the bowl on herself in the process.  Keepers found her breathing shallowly and staring out into space.  The vet happened to be right next door and rushed in, but she was dead within minutes.  We sent her entire body out for necropsy to two facilities in Georgia, but despite one of them specializing in brain issues, neither could determine her cause of death.  She was one of our youngest residents and we never expected to lose her so soon, even though she had arrived with severe neurological issues.

 

 

 

 

It is very rare that we get video of Tommie, so this was a real treat!

 

Little Feather

Little Feather

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hear big catsLittle Feather

Female Bobcat

DOB 5/3/93

Rescued 5/8/93

 

Bobcat_LittleFeatherLittle Feather was five days old when she came to Big Cat Rescue. She had been bred at a game farm that bred bobcats and cougars. Game farms often breed wild animals to be shot as game, or to be exploited in other awful ways.  One of the most common is one that you have probably seen.

If you have ever seen bobcat or lynx mothers with their kittens in a field of flowers, you have probably seen game farm cats.  Photographers will pay a lot for images they can’t get in the wild because no mother bobcat or lynx is going to let you get anywhere near her kittens.

The mothers are drugged, and wired down in place behind the flowers or log so you can’t see that their back legs are tightly secured to the ground.  The kittens are turned loose and they run to their mothers.  As she awakens, surrounded by photographers, she is terrified and gives them the hissing images they know will sell.

The photo session is concluded by the mother being darted again so that she can’t move.  This constant drugging destroys her kidneys and she will die young, but game farmers just consider that the cost of doing business.  Kittens who don’t look just right, or who grow too old are discarded as pets, to hunting ranches and other bad places.

Please, don’t buy books, calendars or other items with wildcat mom and kitten photos and don’t pass them around on social sites, unless you know that they were really taken in the wild or at a sanctuary that doesn’t buy, breed or sell wild animals.

When Little Feather arrived we began bottle feeding her, and she quickly became everyone’s little darling. Her surrogate mother was Breezy, a freebred domestic cat rescued from the streets.

Little Feather was very sickly as a kitten and spent days in a pouch around Carole Baskin’s neck to keep her warm and to monitor her every breath. She never grew to be very big for some unknown reason, and full grown she weighs only 16 pounds.

Little Feather is a very odd looking bobcat, she is stocky and has a fluffy coat like a northern bobcat, but has the dark coat pattern with small spots and her face has little ruff like a southern bobcat. She is likely a cross between the two.

She is now over 20 years old, but still just as cute as a kitten thanks to those huge eyes.

Due to blood clot, Little Feather has been lame in her back leg and has been receiving K-Laser Therapy three times a week thanks to K-Laser Veterinary.  She still limps a little, but the overall improvement has been amazing.  See the video below to show the progression from the time of lameness until her near recovery.

Here are a few pages that show the K-Laser therapy for Little Feather:

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-116/

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-114/

http://bigcatrescue.org/working-with-big-cats-at-big-cat-rescue-113/

 

 

Sponsor Little Feather http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

 

2014:  Little Feather is a 21 year old bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. She was reported for having a puffy looking chin, which turned out to be some bad teeth. The dental work went fine and she seemed to be well on her way to recovery, so we took her back to her Cat-a-Tat.

When we let her loose, we were horrified to see that she was lame. See how three vets, a number of techs, K-Laser and Big Cat Rescuers all came together to try and give her back the ability to walk.

See how you can help: http://bigcatrescue.org/cat-hospital-wishlist/

More About Little Feather:

* January 2015 video has some footage of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-feb-16-2015/

* Wildcat Walkabout Video has footage of Little Feather looking cute – February 24, 2014: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-feb-24-2014/

* This page has a short video clips of Little Feather enjoying being scratched: http://bigcatrescue.org/dont-they-miss-being-petted/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for October 2, 2014 – This page has a lot of photos including Little Feather. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-2-2014/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for November 12 – This page has several photos of the cats including photos of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-nov-12/

* Now at Big Cat Rescue for July 29, 2014 is a video that has some footage of several cats including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-july-29-2014/

* Now at Big Cat Rescue for June 22, 2014 is a video that has some footage of several cats including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-june-22-2014/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for September 16th – This page has a lot of photos including Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-bug-cat-rescue-sept-16/

* Today At Big Cat Rescue for October 17, 2014 – This page has several photos of the cats including photos of Little Feather: http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-17-2014/

* Walk About Video for May 3, 2014 has some footage of several cats as well as Little Feather –  Little Feather turns 21 and gets a doll house. http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-may-3-2014/

 

Little White Dove

Little White Dove

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Little White Dove

Female Bobcat

DOB 5/19/97

 

Little White Dove is well known for her beautiful golden eyes.  She chose to bond and live with Running Bear.  Though she was once food aggressive, as so many of the wildcats here are, she now defers to Running Bear at feeding time.  She will even allow him to be fed before her.

During the day, they spend much of their time perched high up in their tree sleeping. Seeing them up there, it is easy for guests to understand the nocturnal nature of bobcats and how easily they can camouflage themselves in trees. Despite development and human encroachment of their habitat, bobcats can sometimes manage to stay hidden from view and manage to survive.

Sponsor Little White Dove http://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/sponsor-a-cat

 

 

 

Running Bear & Little White Dove

by J.P. Richardson

 

On the banks of the river, stood Running Bear, young Indian brave.

On the other side of the river stood a lovely Indian maid.

Little White Dove was her name, such a lovely sight to see.

But their tribes fought with each other, so their love could never be.

LittleWhiteDove-bobcat

Chorus:

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love big as the sky.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love that couldn’t die.

LittleWhiteDove-bobcat

He couldn’t swim the raging river, because the river was too wide.

He couldn’t reach his Little White Dove waiting on the other side.

In the moonlight he could see her blowing kisses cross the waves.

Her little heart was beating faster waiting there for her brave.

LittleWhiteDove-bobcat

Chorus:

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love big as the sky.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love that couldn’t die.

LittleWhiteDove-bobcat

Running Bear dove in the water, Little White Dove did the same.

As they swam up to each other through the swirling stream they came.

As their hands touched and their lips met, the raging river pulled them down.

Now they’ll always be together in that happy hunting ground.

Chorus:

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love big as the sky.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove with a love that couldn’t die.

 See More About Little White Dove:

Hear some great vocalizations by Running Bear and Little White Dove in this Wildcat Walkabout Video on May 1, 2014 – http://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-may-2-2014/

Most of our bobcats were rescued from fur farms where they were being raised to slaughter for their fur.  Some were being sold at auction where taxidermists would buy them and club them to death in the parking lot, but a few were born here in the early days when we were ignorant of the truth and were being told by the breeders and dealers that these cats should be bred for “conservation.” Once we learned that there are NO captive breeding programs that actually contribute to conservation in the wild we began neutering and spaying our cats in the mid 1990’s.  Knowing what we do about the intelligence and magnificence of these creatures we do not believe that exotic cats should be bred for lives in cages. Read more about our Evolution of Thought HERE