BY NANCY BAKER FAUL – Sun Herald
Saturday, Jul. 25, 2009
Downtown Gulfport seems an unlikely place for a wild animal to be hanging out, but that’s where a baby bobcat was captured earlier this month.
On July 7, Gulfport Police Animal Control officer Gwen Wilder captured the 4-month-old bobcat at the Goodwill Industries building, 2407 31st St. in downtown Gulfport.
The wild bobcat had a cleft lip, either as a result of a trauma or possibly a birth defect.
Animal Control took the bobcat to Dr. James Askew and Dr. Ann DelBorgo Ladner at The Saucier Veterinary Hospital for immediate medical attention.
In addition to the cleft lip, the bobcat kitten had parasites and was weak when it was rescued by Wilder.
Ladner performed surgery to correct the cleft lip and other facial problems so the bobcat would be able to live a normal life.
“The tiny little thing was found weak and in bad condition but is now doing well and can be a real ‘spitfire’ when I go near him,” Askew said. “We named him T.C. He eats normally now and will be ready for travel soon.”
T.C. will be turned over to the Cedar Hill Cat Sanctuary about 30 minutes north of Starkville. The doctors at the Saucier Veterinary Hospital have sent a bobcat to the sanctuary on one other occasion.
“When you see or come in contact with any wild animal, it is always (best for) Animal Control professionals to rescue and capture the animal,” Askew said. “Never attempt to touch, harm, capture or restrain the animal yourself.”
According to Defenders of Wildlife, a conservation group based in Washington D.C., there are about 750,000 to 1,020,000 bobcats remaining in the wild today.
Charlie Welch, of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said it is not uncommon for wild animals such as bobcats to be found in urban areas.
“Their habitats are brushy and wooded areas with a good supply of prey,” Welch said. “We haven’t taken a count in Gulfport so we don’t know how many could be in that area.”
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org