Ace sat down slowly on the concrete because her frail old body had lost the padding of well muscled flesh. She was old and her sight was failing, but still she stared out toward the bay and remembered…
She had lived here her entire life. Ace had a family once, a long time ago, but now they were all gone. She used to have friends and spend time enjoying the great open spaces of the land that had been handed down to her generation after generation, but those friends were long gone as well. Her grandmother and her grandmother’s grandmothers had hunted and fished here. Now the water was polluted, the forests were gone and the sound of wildlife was only an echo in her mind.
In 1545 when Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a Spanish lad had shipwrecked here he probably didn’t seem like much of a threat to Ace’s forefathers. No one could have guessed that the ancient Indians who lived here would one day be driven onto reservations. Who would have thought that the land that teemed with life and abundance would one day be buried beneath asphalt, concrete, office buildings, super highways, air port runways and parking garages?
Fast forward to 2007 and Big Cat Rescue begins getting calls that a bobcat is living in the midst of all of this development. The callers are all worried that she will be hit by a car. They see her slinking into dumpsters in broad daylight now, looking for any scrap of food. Some fear her and others fear for her, but she is brave and proud and holds out until she just can’t survive this way any longer.
As if to surrender, as her Native American friends did so many years ago, she lays down in front of the door to Ace Realty. She is too old, too tired and too starved to fight for her freedom any longer.
The employees at Ace Realty call Big Cat Rescue to the scene. She knows she can’t live here any more, but fear over comes her at the sight of people coming for her with nets. She doesn’t know their hearts and she makes a feeble attempt to flee, but there is no where to go. It is all cars and people and pavement. Racing into the street a net stops her short…
Big Cat Rescuers caught a severely emaciated bobcat wandering in the middle of an office park in Tampa near the airport. Jamie Veronica and Scott Lope followed up on reports in the Bay Area of bobcats being hit by cars and dying. But this one could be called a miracle cat — “It’s our first rescue of a bobcat that wasn’t injured.” Scott Lope, our manager said, “There’s the instant gratification feeling that we did rescue this animal from certain death. She had no where to go and was surrounded by traffic, but then there’s a bit of a sadness”. Sadness that the place she once called home is gone. We plan to nurse the bobcat back to health and release her into the wild.
She was moved to the secluded rehab cage where we had success in rehabbing former resident Faith (now released and thriving) for Faith’s complete story click HERE To read updates on Ace, check below the video.
Read about three other bobcats who were rescued within the same four week period at Bobcat Rescues.
Fox 13 transcript: Development drove cat into office park, rescuers say
Created: Thursday, 16 Aug 2007, 11:09 PM EDT
Rescuers found a bobcat wandering in the middle of an office park in Tampa near the airport. We’ve got you covered
TAMPA – When Scott Lope got a call from Center Point Business Park about a bobcat being spotted there, he feared the worst.
“I assumed that since this animal isn’t running away, since its in the vicinity of people, that it’s been hit by a car, severely injured — not an animal that’s going to make it,” he said.
He got there and found the bobcat, and to his surprise, the cat was very much alive. Lope also found dozens of people watching it, in amazement.
“As we approached it did perk up a little bit — it made efforts to get away from us, but it was very emaciated and very and very weak condition, you can tell it hadn’t eaten in quite a while,” Lope said.
Lope is the director of Big Cat Rescue, and has been working to save cats like this one for ten years now.
Lope says the reason the bobcat ended up at that business park: more development. In this case, rescuers say new construction of the interchange near Tampa International Airport moved the bobcat out of its habitat.
“There are still a few pockets of wood, there’s a few parks probably living there and as every square inch gets developed, every bit of greenery gets plowed under for parking lots and new buildings — these guys just don’t have anywhere to go,” Lope said.
Lope followed up on reports in the Bay Area of bobcats being hit by cars and dying. But this one could be called his miracle cat — it’s their first rescue of a bobcat that wasn’t injured.
“There’s the instant gratification feeling that we did rescue this animal from certain death. It had no where to go it was surrounded by traffic, but then there’s a bit of a sadness,” Lope said. Sadness that the place he once called home is gone. Big Cat Rescue plans to nurse the bobcat back to health and release it into the wild.
Jim Hill, Fox 13 News
8/17/07 Update: As you can see in the video the bobcat is severely emaciated and the initial vet exam shows her to be very old and possibly suffering from cataracts. She is eating and drinking, probably for the first time in a very long time, and is still too weak to even mount a full throated threat. She
will be treated as a candidate for rehab and release and kept away from
people until she stabilizes enough to re evaluate her condition.
Today she is moving from the West-Boensch Cat Hospital at Big Cat Rescue to the secluded rehab cage where Faith grew up. Volunteers
and Interns have been working all morning to create a boma for her to
hide in and lots of perches, caves and other things to keep her alert
and exercising her muscles.
Since the bobcat had dropped in exhaustion on the steps of Ace Realty and they called Big Cat Rescue to ask us to help her, we have named the cat Ace. If you call or email to check on her, you can now do so by name. We keep the public away from rehab animals, so that they do not become too nonchalant in the presence of people, so you won’t be able to visit her, but we often leave surveillance cameras running so that we can monitor their progress.
If there is any way that she can go free, even if just to live out another couple of years in the wild, that is our goal. If she cannot get a clean bill of health saying that he can fend for herself then she will have a retirement that other wild cats could only dream of.
9/17/07 Update: The bobcat is doing well enough that Big Cat Rescuers feel she can be released soon. Ace was sedated today for a last run of blood tests and to have her ear tipped as a universal symbol that she is a cat in a release program and not fair game for hunters. As soon as Chance the baby bobcat is cleared to be moved outside he will go into the rehab cage next to her to continue to imprint on his own kind before being released.
4/24/08 Update: Sadly Ace’s blood work came back positive for Feline Aids and if she were to be released she could infect and kill an entire population of bobcats. It is a slow and agonizing death for cats who are on their own and given her advanced age we have decided to allow her to live out the rest of her good months in peace and quiet at Big Cat Rescue. When her health begins to deteriorate to the point of affecting her quality of life, then we will humanely euthanize her.
6/1/2011 Update: Ace is still alive and well at Big Cat Rescue. She is deaf and pretty much blind, but loves to laze in the sun or nestle in the palmettos of her over sized Cat-a-tat.
12/19/11 Update: Ace has died. Ace the bobcat was older than dirt when she arrived in 2007 and had nearly starved to death before arriving. We thought that we might be able to give her a good few days, but ending up giving her a great four years. She has been sleeping more and more and when she quit eating and taking her meds we knew she was ready to call it quits. Today Dr. Wynn came in so that Ace could be eased to whatever great hunting grounds lay beyond for her, without Ace having to leave the comfort of her Skip bed and heating pad in her den. Thank you to everyone who helped care for her these last four years, to Dr. Wynn, Jamie and Gale for easing her along on her next adventure, all of our supporters and all of you who work tirelessly giving tours, writing letters and sending out gift shop purchases because it takes all of us, every day, working together to be able to help cats like Ace.
Tributes to Ace the Bobcat
Dec 21, 2011
Ace, shy little girl I mourn and will miss you but know that you are free now! That seems to be a phrase we use a great deal but it never becomes trite or cliche. We wish for all wild cats to be free and never been in captivity. I am glad you gave us four years! It was a joy to watch you, incrementally, approach your lockout when I came to feed you. Your tininess betrayed the fierce wild Bobcat you were. Be at peace little one. Thank you to all who cared for and loved her.
Dec 21, 2011
This poor little bobcat went through so much in her life, and yet she survived. Having to say goodbye to her is, of course, sad. But, having to watch those who loved her with all their hearts face the reality that she has moved on….well, that’s tough, too. The bright spot is that she did touch their hearts, she did survive long enough to know and experience true love from her keepers. Marie, she loved you as much as you loved her. How many animals on the planet get to experience bonding with a human as she did with you? Her story has touched so many and she will be terribly missed.
Lynda Licht Dec 20, 2011
A clear, crisp Sunday – what a beautiful day to be out. A chance to check on Little Back arises. With worry I arrive to see you. In your lockout, taking a sip of water. Approaching slowly and quietly so as not to alarm. Frail and tired, you look at me with your clouded eyes. We see it in each other and we know. You’re not hiding in the tall grass anymore. Fare well Ace of hearts.
Dec 20, 2011
Little Ace bobcat always brightened my day. She was one of my favorite bobcats, because she was so small and cute and so feisty. When you’d go to feed her or poop her cage, it was usually hard to see her, and you’d only know where she was from the sound of her hissing coming from the bushes. Lately she had not been as afraid of me at feeding time and would come in and eat while I was there. She was definitely wild at heart and I’m glad she never changed. I hope she rests in peace now.
Meredith Pennino Dec 20, 2011
Ace was an incredible girl. An ancient lady bob, but still full of spunk, until very recently. When I first started feeding Ace, her attitude was much different, but since I do operant conditioning with 2 cats near her, I would bring her a “treat” and this created a relationship between her and I. Slowly feeding time evolved into Ace slowly walking into lockout and politely eating her meal.
I was there yesterday, although I did not go to visit with Ace. Due to the fact that Ace was on meds (and I was scolded previously for treating her while she was on meds), I did operant with my two nearby cats, overheard that she was sound asleep in her cozy bed, and left.
I feel guilty that I did not visit with Ace on her final day, but perhaps she would have wanted it that way, for me to not see her lethargic, but remember her full of her wild bob ways.
I truly, deeply loved that sweet Acey bob. I’m not sure why it’s easier to write her memorial, when I still have not been able to write memorials for some of the other cats. Possibly because Ace was way beyond her years, had been FIV+ for who knows how long before we rescued her, was partially deaf & partially blind. It’s a known fact that one day all of BCR’s cats will pass on, but now this very elderly bobcat is running free with the energy of a kitten, with all of our other BCR angels. I’m sure she is remembering us and thanking us for all the treats, love and compassion we provided her. Acey bob was an incredible girl who will always hold a special place in my heart. <3
Marie Schoubert Dec 19, 2011
I realized last year that little Ace was getting old fast… I decided to go to see her every day before to go to A Bob (with ABob’s approval of course… kind of…) Every day I would stop by to give her half of A Bob’s treats (don’t tell him…). Until last week, I took Mary Lou with me to show her how bad she was looking. She looked so old and tired, and I told Mary Lou that this would probably be her last winter with us…. But still she would come to me, eat her treats and take her med until last Wednesday. I had to take the rest of the week off and my first thought was for her… I cried and asked her “Please don’t leave me now little girl”… Of course, she had to, and did!!! I feel TERRIBLE!!!! I can’t stop the tears right now, and can’t imagine my days at BCR without listening to her beautiful and soft purr! I didn’t get to say goodbye to you Ace! I will miss you and your purr!!! I do feel so lucky to have known such a beautiful Angel and I am so glad she enjoyed her warm bed at least for a week until the end! R.I.P. My little Angel Ace. I will never forget you. Soon I will smile when I think of you… soon… but right now I just can’t stop the tears!