Big Cat Rescue Rehabilitates Bobcats
for Release Back to the Wild
Watch our Rehab Bobcats LIVE on this explore.org web cam: http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release
Ms 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/
Mr Claws http://bigcatrescue.org/the-claws
What Do Rehab Bobcats Do All Day?
How to Care for Rehab Bobcat
Cage rest sounds pretty peaceful for the cat, but it’s a real challenge for the caregivers.
See 2 playlists of some of our rehab bobcats
While we do bobcat rescue, rehab and release in Florida, we will not relocate bobcats as state law requires that they be released very near where they were captured. They must be released on at least 40 acres and we must get written permission from the owner of the property. They may not be released into state owned parks (strangely) but rather must be released on privately owned land with the land owner’s consent.
Big Cat Rescue has decades of experience rehabbing and releasing bobcats back to the wild where they belong. We provide huge, naturalistic enclosures where these cats can learn or perfect their hunting skills before being released back to the wild. We have trained staff who are experts at capturing an injured bobcat or hand rearing orphaned bobcats until a surrogate can be found.
We go to great lengths to keep these wild cats from imprinting on humans and monitor their care via surveillance cameras to make sure they are thriving. When they are healed, or old enough for release (about 18 months of age) we find the best habitat possible for sustaining them and set them free to live out the life that nature intended.
If you have a bobcat emergency in a state other than Florida, we can help you find a rehabber or will be a resource to wildlife rehabilitators who need help with bobcats, lynx or cougars. When you are searching for a bobcat rehabber ask the following questions:
1. Do they have experience with bobcats?
2. How big are their rehab enclosures? (Ours start at 1200 square feet and some are double that)
3. Do they feed a live diet of prey to insure that the cats will be able to hunt for themselves?
4. Do they keep people, including themselves to the extent possible, away from the bobcat so that they do not imprint on people and end up approaching humans after release?
5. Do they have a vet on staff or on call 24/7 for emergencies?
Rehabbing and releasing bobcats is much more difficult that the rehabilitation of most wildlife. These magnificent little wildcats need every opportunity to fulfill their role in nature and Big Cat Rescue is here to give them that second chance.
No one is allowed to trap and relocate bobcats so anyone who tells you that they will do that is probably trapping them to use as bait for training dogs.
Read more about why relocating wildcats doesn’t work: http://bigcatrescue.org/relocating-bobcats-and-cougars/
Get the flier to share with your neighbors about Living With Bobcats http://bigcatrescue.org/000news/pdf/2009/BCR_FLBobcat_Brochure_Web.pdf
More Bobcat Rehab Success Stories
2003-2016 Big Cat Rescue has had 29 cats come through the rehab program. In addition we have gone on 2 calls where we have seen the injured bobcat, but were unable to catch it.
2003 – 1
Faith – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released (1st attempt at rehabbing and releasing a weaning kitten)
2007 – 4
Chance – Injured & birth defects, surgery to repair hernia, rehabbed, released
Will – Brain damaged juvenile, not releasable, permanent resident
Kennedy – Brain damaged juvenile, not releasable, permanent resident, died from seizure
Ace – Emaciated adult, FIV positive, not permitted to release, permanent resident, died from FIV
2008 – 1
Hope – Orphaned nursing kitten, utilized foster domestic mom and kittens, rehabbed til grown and released (1st attempt at rehabbing and releasing a nursing kitten)
2009 – 4
Dante – Hit by car, broken jaw, rehabbed, released
Bellona – Hit by car, broken leg & tail, plate surgery at Blue Pearl, follow up knee surgery at Blue
Pearl, rehabbed released
Flash – Injured, no vet care needed, rehabbed, released
Christmas – Hit by car, injuries too severe, euthanized
2010 – 4
Skip – Hit by car, broken pelvis, surgery w/ Dr. Hay, rehabbed, pelvis healed too narrow, permanent resident, died from seizure
Midnight – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper
Rain – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper
Storm – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper and congenital heart disease
2012 – 2
Gator – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released
Copter – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released
2013 – 2
Khaleesi – Orphaned juvenile, rehabbed til grown and released
Fencer – Caught in fence, broken toe, rehabbed, released
2014 – 2
Cypress – Broken pelvis, FHO surgery at Blue Pearl, pelvis did not heal, euthanized
Ivan – Both front legs amputated, suspected trap, euthanized
2015 – 7
Journey – Orphaned kitten, died of feline distemper
Phoenix – Orphaned kitten, burned in brush fire, rehabbed, released
Captiva – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released
Rain – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released
Dancer – Orphaned kitten, rehabbed, released
Mr. Claws – Orphaned juvenile, broken leg, plate surgery at Humane Society, rehabbed, released
Mrs. Claws – Orphaned kitten, injury to head, stunted growth, still in rehab
2016 – 2
Poseidon – Severe parasite and mange infestation, died as a result
Thor – Broken jaw, eye socket, and shoulder blade, jaw surgery at Humane Society, rehabbed released
Hope the Bobcat
Episode 1 https://youtu.be/BcNZVF4ayDc
Episode 2 https://youtu.be/3afjaPdvJ38
Episode 3 https://youtu.be/68GjuVogId8
Episode 4 https://youtu.be/jKVDhfVtgao
Episode 5 https://youtu.be/PNPO5iCeU54
Episode 6 https://youtu.be/xtvIxx6dEe8
Episode 7 https://youtu.be/GJa-NqeJG14
Episode 8 https://youtu.be/3sbsRoAdfsU
Episode 9 https://youtu.be/ZMrki7Jy3Fk
Episode 10 https://youtu.be/Sfl_T3aF_ZA
Episode 11 https://youtu.be/noiygWDCo5o
Episode 12 https://youtu.be/CHnz3w7YQVo
Episode 13 https://youtu.be/oW7pmvv_Dmo
Episode 14 https://youtu.be/iXPjBTpZx1U
Help Expand Bobcat Rehab Capacity
We are thinking the bobcat rehab rebuild is going to run about a quarter of a million dollars.
The area that would be most suitable on our property would allow a foot print of about 200 feet by 800 feet and would give us about 1/3 of that in thick woods and 2/3 in grassy runs. The woods are a blessing and a curse when we are talking chain link boxes.
The pink areas are our permanent big cat residents. The green shaded area is where we want to move our bobcat rehab facilities. It will be the opposite end of our property from the new hotel that is going in on Easy Street.
The 18 acre lake was dug out by the previous owner and then he was filling it in, starting w/ the green shaded area, with concrete and construction materials from demolition sites. He dug the lake down to 30 feet in places, so we could have that much concrete to drill through.
Wild bobcats DO dig, so we have to have a floor. That’s why I was thinking that a big chain link box, complete with roof and floor, might actually work there. It would have to be 1 in mesh and at least 11.5 gauge to meet state standards and keep their live rats from escaping. We would put dirt, grass and shrubs over the flooring after install.
This year we had 7 bobcats in rehab, which is the most we’ve had at one time, but as our reputation for successful releases grows, more cats seem to end up here, so we need to be ready for that growing demand.
We are confident that we can end the practice of private ownership of big cats, so the wildlife rehab work will expand as the need for big cat sanctuaries decreases with our legislative wins.
We own the three houses and two barns that are south of the green shaded area, so there is water, power and Internet nearby. The main house and the two barns have a life estate by the elderly owner though, so I’d have to build something for indoor care of injured cats, but it wouldn’t have to be huge because of the opportunity to take over the existing structures soon.
Currently the intensive care is done in our on site Cat Hospitals, but it would really be nice to have the wild bobcats totally away from the hubbub of the sanctuary, in their own recovery facilities adjoining the outdoor runs.
What I envision here are 8 long, narrow runs, maybe 20 by 230 each, that could be opened up into 4 that are 20 x 470 when there are 4 or fewer cats. Still puzzling about how to make the space expandable, without shared walls, which are just a tragedy waiting to happen.
Whether a bobcat comes to us injured or orphaned, they usually go through these stages:
Another factor that I haven’t quite figured out yet, is how to mount cameras so that we can make sure the cats are doing well, and to engage the public. Our Bobcat Rehab camera is very popular at http://explore.org/live-cams/player/big-cat-rescue-bobcat-rehab-and-release and a great way to engage people in caring about wildlife, so I want to build it with a goal of it being a good virtual visual experience.
Each cage will require 27,120 sf of 1 in chain link mesh. Or roughly 64,750 linear feet of 8 foot high chain link mesh. http://www.yourfencestore.com/ lists 10 gauge, 1 inch mesh for 11.14 per linear foot which means a retail cost.
Below are mockups by Kenni Pedersen of what the bobcat rehab runs will look like.
Kenni’s working on an animated version.