Big Cat Updates
Dryden and Kewlona Bobcat came out for Becky and Sue this morning and ate everything but the venison we offered. Gale had brought home bison, turkey and some other game type meats to see if we could appeal to their palettes.
We also got this feedback from a previous volunteer at Spirit of the Hills, summarized below, along with the two adorable kitten photos of them here:
“Dryden and Kewlona came to Spirit of the Hills in June 2015 when they were only weeks old. They were found in a farmer’s barn in Wyoming. They are siblings and the mother and 2 more kittens were found dead not far from where the kittens were found.
I looked after them during my holidays for 6 weeks and then when I left, they were cared for by the director. Once they were a few months old they were put into a large enclosure. One thing I always noticed with them, when I would go back and see them, is that they like high platforms.
To my knowledge they did not try to rehab and release them. I think because they had been handled by humans too much when they were small.
It was the same with Smalls; she was bottle fed, from a tiny kitten so that’s probably the same reason why she was not rehabilitated and released; because they felt she had too much human contact as little ones.”
Today: Smalls Bobcat is still VERY mad about being in the hospital, but we have to keep her stitches clean, so we’ve had a camera on her to see if she will eat. She’s drinking, but not eating yet. We’ve been frustrated that the Nest cams in the hospital on her and Nala keep failing. We don’t know if it is the cameras or the Internet in there, but it’s proving to be a real challenge to keep them up and running.
Yesterday we learned that Smalls had been found drowning in a creek in Wyoming and turned in to Spirit of the Hills. She had pneumonia and spent a week at the vet’s office recovering.
Monday we hope to spay Kewlona so that she and her brother can continue to live together. I guess, based on the info from the volunteer above, we will need to build them some new platforms too. They have a hill, but we can do better than that. You can help us feed the cats and provide lifetime care here:
Ban Cruel Trapping
Ask US Feds to stop using barbaric leg hold traps http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51389/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19907 Only US Citizens can respond to this one, but there are plenty of other big cat issues that need your voice at CatLaws.com
Getting ready for Halloween?
#StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com/ch/59-3330495 to stock up for Halloween and Amazon donates to Big Cat Rescue, Corp.
A Heart of Nikita Presents:
Jamie Must Be Cleaning Her Hard Drives
Here’s a list of updates she’s been collecting
MRS CLAWS UPDATE
Mrs. Claws was rescued when she was a tiny kitten by a rehabber in Christmas, Florida. She had been bitten in the head by an unknown animal. Her wounds were treated and fully healed during her six weeks stay at the facility.
Because Mrs. Claws was so young she would require special care and training to prepare her for a life in the wild. The rehabber knew about our bobcat rehab program and thought Big Cat Rescue would be a great place for Mrs. Claws to continue her rehabilitation. It just so happened that we had made arrangements to take in a more recent rescue from the rehabber, a young male bobcat who had suffered a broken leg. We were happy to take the pair and had hoped to raise and release them together.
Mr. Claws received the lifesaving surgery he needed and Mrs. Claws began her training in hunting and wild behaviors. Both kittens were progressing nicely and seemed very interested in one another from their neighboring enclosures.
Through careful observation the pair were introduced. They got along great for a short while. However their friendship came to an abrupt end over a scuffle involving food resulting in them having to be separated.
Mr. Claws recovered completely during the following months and was later released. Meanwhile Mrs. Claws repeatedly showed signs of mental insufficiency. At first we thought she may have a problem with her vision. She would run into doors that she had watched and heard being shut, she would nip and bite near her food using her sense of smell to pinpoint its location, and she would occasionally stumble over logs on the ground. She was examined twice and ophthalmologist Dr. Miller determined her vision was fine. Leaving us only one conclusion, she may have suffered an injury to her brain from the bite wounds that were inflicted upon her as a kitten.
Throughout her rehabilitation she was continuously tested and challenged in new ways. Her food was hidden, she was given different types of prey that would be harder to catch including birds and squirrels, and her environment was rearranged to evaluate her ability to navigate and adapt to change. She eagerly accepted each challenge sometimes conquering them and other times not. To make things worse she would succeed at something one day and fail at the same challenge the next only to succeed again the following day. Her ability to learn and her reactions were not consistent.
There were times when her live prey would walk right past her and she would run in the opposite direction looking for it. There were other times when she was given whole prey and she would lose track of it and frantically look for it even though she was actually standing right on it. These occurrences were not daily, but happened enough times to cause concern. On the days Mrs. Claws caught her live prey she often would grasp it in odd locations.
Instead deploying an efficient bite to the neck or head (an instinctual response) she would grab the prey mid body or by the back end leaving her face vulnerable to attacks.
Mrs. Claws also had no fear of people despite having no human interaction and her caregivers wearing camouflage ghillie suites. In one test, one of our male staff (all of her caregivers are female) was sent out to her enclosure to walk around the outside and leave. She did not run away and hide, nor did she hiss or growl. She just watched the person come and go from her perch.
Subsequently, a few weeks later, another male volunteer was sent out to her enclosure. She ran right over to him and followed him around the entire perimeter purring all along the way.
Our rehab team has struggled with the inevitable determination of whether or not Mrs. Claws would be able to survive on her own in the wild. She had been taught everything we could teach her. We had hoped that with some extra time she would overcome these deficits, yet sadly she has not.
The final and most concerning scenario to take place was that of a chance encounter with four adult raccoons. Thanks to the diligent watchers of the live streaming explore.org/bigcatrescue webcam in her enclosure, footage of this encounter was captured and sent to our rehab team. Four full grown raccoons approached Mrs. Claws’ enclosure. She immediately ran over to them and rubbed her face and side along the wire. Her tail upright and flicking in a playful manner. She had no fear of these animals that would most certainly kill her in the wild. Instead she enthusiastically approached them and acted as if she wanted them to pet her. This was not a good sign and may be the final determining factor regarding her release.
NEW REHAB – SPIRIT FEATHER
Just as soon as one bobcat is released back into the wild it seems another is right there to take their place. At 12:30 in the morning on July 21st Big Cat Rescuers received a call from a clinic, in a small town outside of Orlando, where an orphaned bobcat kitten had been surrendered. The kitten had been found alone in the middle of the road. Rescuers arrived on the scene and transferred her from a small cardboard box into a more comfortable travel crate.
This tiny kitten was fully feral and had the spunk and spirit of full grown wild bobcat. Her arrival came at a time when we were mourning the loss of our beloved Little Feather and so she was named Spirit Feather in honor of both her fiery attitude and our recently passed friend. Weighing in at just two pounds we estimated Spirit Feather to be approximately two months old.
She was not injured in any way, however, she suffered a heavy infestation of fleas and hookworms for which she was treated. She also had a small crusted spot on her back which tested positive for ringworm. Because ringworm is highly contagious Spirit Feather must remain in the cat hospital under quarantine until she has completed her course of medication to treat the infection.
Spirit Feather has been doing very well. She is eating whole prey foods, she is very playful and energetic, and she has maintained her wild and untrusting nature. By the time you have received this issue of the Big Cat Times she will have been moved to the outdoor rehab enclosure equipped with a live streaming webcam viewable at explore.org/bigcatrescue. Tune in to watch Spirit Feather’s progress and stay tuned for updates in our next issue.
ROOT CANAL PERFORMED ON TIGER
Zabu is a 16-year-old female white tiger who was rescued along with Cameron the lion from a roadside zoo in New England in 2004. At the zoo Zabu and Cameron were housed together and neither had been spayed or neutered. This could have resulted in the pair producing offspring called ligers. These genetically mutated cross-breeds are victim to a plethora of birth defects that plague the animal its entire life. Unfortunately these freakish hybrids have become popular, though this is not an animal that would even exist in the wild. Since their arrival at Big Cat Rescue Zabu has been spayed and Cameron neutered so the duo can continue to live together.
Zabu was sedated earlier this year for a dental exam after keepers reported her gum line around one of her teeth appearing a little red and inflamed. Because of the sheer size of her teeth and the special equipment required to perform root canals on a big cat a specialist was called in. Dr. Gingerich and his staff from the Pet Dental Center, with locations in both Bonita Springs and Fort Lauderdale, made the long trip to Big Cat Rescue for a day of dental work on the big cats.
Despite never showing any symptoms of tooth pain it turned out that Zabu had several teeth in need of repair. During her first exam she had two root canals performed on both an upper and lower canine. A few months later she was sedated again and two molars were repaired. Unfortunately for Zabu her dental work is still not complete. She requires work on four more teeth. Due to complications that arise in the big cats during sedation we limit the time spent under anesthesia to 3 hours. Because of the intricate nature of performing a root canal on such a big animal the dentist can only complete 2-3 teeth during each visit.
Zabu will require at least two more dentals in order to complete all of the restorative work needed. We are so thankful to Dr. Gingerich and his staff Jennifer Dupree for their help making Zabu feel so much better!
TONGA 4 YEARS CANCER FREE
Four years ago on August 18th Tonga went under the knife for the life saving surgery of a nasal planectomy (removal of the nose). Tonga had a recurring wound on the tip of his nose. A biopsy was taken of the affected area and the results indicated it was a squamous cell carcinoma; in other words skin cancer. He was taken to a specialized clinic nearby where a CT scan was performed to determine if Tonga was a candidate for surgery. Fortunately the doctors felt that slim margins could be taken and thus removal of the mass would be curative. Tonga’s surgery was four years ago and he has been doing great ever since. We are so happy that Tonga has beaten cancer and grateful for the doctors who saved his life.
COUGAR GETS A HAIRCUT
Sassyfras is an 18-year-old male cougar who was rescued from Idaho after his owner took her own life leaving behind Sass and another cougar named Freddy.
He has arthritis which makes it difficult for him to groom himself effectively and so he must be sedated periodically to be shaved. Upon his last sedation he was fully examined and was found to have 4 bad teeth which were removed by Dr. Boorstein. Meanwhile interns helped shave his fur down to a more manageable length.
Sassyfras was looking good with his new haircut which will also keep him a little cooler during the sweltering summer months.
BIG NEWS FOR BIG CATS
Thailand’s Tiger Temple was founded in 1994 as a forest temple and sanctuary for wild animals. The temple rescued it’s first tiger in 1999, an orphaned cub that had been found in a local village. The cub died soon after its arrival. According to reports 8 cubs in need of rescue were later brought to the temple. As of January 2016 the temple housed more than 150 tigers. Somewhere along the way the temple evolved from a rescue center to a breeding facility aimed at profiting off their collection of big cats by way of charging tourists for photo ops.
The temple’s operations violated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) international treaty on wildlife to which Thailand is a signatory, which bans commercial breeding of protected wild animals such as tigers. In addition the temple did not possess a license required for breeding as determined by the Thai Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act of 1992. Yet for years the temple continued to breed tigers for profit.
On the surface it appeared as the though the temple was solely profiting from tourists paying entrance fees to walk among the tigers and take selfies with the big cats. A practice in and of itself that results in tigers being bred for an unnatural life in captivity with no benefit to conserving the species in the wild.
However something much darker was taking place behind closed doors. Following years of prodding from animal welfare groups, including the International Tiger Coalition (a group of 40+ NGO’s including Big Cat Rescue focused on ending the exploitation of captive big cats which has a direct impact on their wild counterparts) authorities in Thailand launched a crackdown on the Tiger Temple in June of this year. Along with 137 live tigers, they seized the bodies of 40 tiger cubs in a freezer, 30 cubs preserved in jars and approximately 1,000 amulets made from tiger skin. These preserved cubs and trinkets were no doubt on their way to fuel the black market trade in this protected species.
Thailand’s Tiger Temple was just one of hundreds of similar interaction/farming operations. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), there are more than 200 such centers across Asia ranging in size from tiny to huge. These centers, spread across China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, jointly house between 7,000-8,000 captive tigers. That’s thousands more than the estimated 3,900 tigers left in the wild, which occupy only about 7 percent of their historic range. In addition to the staggering numbers of tigers kept throughout Asia the U.S. is reported to have more than 5,000 tigers living in captivity across the country. Many of these tigers will most likely end up being sold illegally to quench the demand for tiger parts, furs, and products.
The wild tiger population has declined by over 95 percent over the last 100 years. 2016 has also
marked a significant upsurge in tiger poaching and trade where in India more tigers were killed in the first five months of 2016 that in the whole of 2015.
What is being done abroad?
Following the dramatic findings at Thailand’s Tiger Temple animal welfare groups across the globe are urging governments throughout Asia to put an end to tiger farming. Big Cat Rescue is among 45 NGOs that have urged countries with tiger farms to take immediate action by ending the breeding of tigers for commercial purposes and phasing out existing tigers farms.
The dwindling population of wild tigers is threatened by the trade for nearly all of their body parts – from skin and bones, to teeth and claws. These products including tiger skin rugs and tiger bone wine are considered luxury items that elevates one status. Trade in captive tiger parts and products stimulates demand for tiger products, be it from wild or captive tigers, and undermines enforcement efforts by making it difficult to know whether seized tiger products come from wild or captive tigers.
In September Big Cat Rescue will join several organizations that have been working together as the International Tiger Coalition at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the the 12 day conference the coalition will attend meetings regarding the protection and conservation of several cat species including tigers as well as lobby attendees to support a ban on tiger farming. In an effort to educate and solicit as many attendees as possible the coalition will man an information booth throughout the event. Additionally the coalition will be hosting a social gathering at which presenters will speak in support of phasing out tiger farms.
What is being done here in the U.S.?
In April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) tightened regulations in the trade of tigers, requiring all facilities that want to transfer tigers across state lines be registered in turn making it easier to detect illegal wildlife trafficking. USFWS also announced that they are rescinding the generic tiger loophole. The loophole allowed private owners to breed tigers whose lineage could not be traced back to the wild with no regulation while accredited facilities participating in the Species Survival Plan were heavily regulated and required permitting prior to breeding pure bred tigers in an effort to conserve the species. Big Cat Rescue has been pressuring the USFWS since 2007 to rescind this loophole and in August of 2011 the generic tiger issue was published to the Federal Register for public comment and received over 15,000 comments in support of our request to ban the breeding of non purebred tigers. Still more needs to be done, including banning public contact with tigers for photo ops.
Back in 2012, a coalition of animal advocacy and conservation organizations including Big Cat Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Detroit Zoological Society, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Fund for Animals and Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries petitioned the USDA to amend the Animal Welfare Act. The change in rules would prohibit the public from coming into direct contact with dangerous animals, including big cats, bears and non-human primates, regardless of their age, in addition to requesting that young animals aren’t separated from their mothers before a species-appropriate age. Finally the USDA has taken a small but positive step forward with the prohibition of the public handling of big cat cubs including tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and cheetahs under the age of four weeks.
How Can You Help?
You can help end the exploitation of captive big cats and the abuse they endure as well as ensure the survival of these incredible species in the wild by taking action at BigCatAct.com
CATNIP ALTERNATIVE STUDY
Big Cat Rescue’s Research Director Lauren Buckingham recently assisted California scientist Sebastiaan Bol with his study on catnip alternatives using some of our big cats as test subjects.
Sebastiaan initially wanted to determine if house cats, who had no reaction to catnip would enjoy alternative plants, in an effort to enrich their lives. Catnip is well known for its pleasure inducing effect and everyone who has seen a cat rolling around with an overwhelming feeling of joyful excitement will understand that it is rather sad for those who don’t like catnip to miss out.
Approximately 1 out of 3 cats do not respond to catnip, most likely because the smell of the catnip does not trigger a reaction.
Silver vine is a plant that is believed to have similar effects to catnip and is very popular in Japan, however is not well known in the US, not even among feline veterinarians. Through the data collected in his study Sebastian was able to conclude that many domestic cats who do not respond to catnip, loved silver vine. The results of his study are due to be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal later this year.
In addition to social domestic cats, silver vine even interested shy and feral cats, and from this finding Sebastiaan hoped the catnip alternative would have practical applications in addition to the enrichment element. Some feral cats are notoriously difficult to capture for trap, neuter and release programs. Thus catnip and silver vine may be utilized to increase capture success, thereby preventing many kittens from being born and ending up in the shelters.
Following the findings in his domestic cat study, Sebastiaan was interested to know if silver vine would have a similar effect on big cats and so he contacted Big Cat Rescue. In the early 60’s, Dr. Todd at Harvard University, completed a study that showed big cats love catnip too and expressed similar behaviors to domestic cats when in contact with it. However, while almost all of the leopards and lions used in the study showed behaviors such as rolling over, rubbing their heads, chin and cheeks on the plant material, tigers showed no interest. As silver vine proved to be a successful alternative for domestics who did not like catnip, it lead to wondering if it would be an alternative for tigers and a way for us to enrich our tigers here at the sanctuary.
Unfortunately after a few days of testing it was concluded that the tigers showed the complete opposite reaction than expected with a strong dislike of silver vine. Many not simply ignoring it but moving away in disgust.
Despite that finding, Lauren and Sebastiaan decided to offer the silver vine to other species to see if they had the same response as the tigers. Below are pictures that show their reaction and love of silver vine. Although they were not the initial target species, a new and exciting enrichment smell was found for the small cats.
We want to thank Sebastian for the time he spent here and look forward to his publication, which will include Big Cat Rescue, later in the year.
In 2011 Muskingum County Sheriff Matthew J. Lutz and his deputies came face to face with a nightmare: a private owner of exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio had opened the cages of his 56 tigers, lions, cougars, bears and wolves and let them loose. Recognizing that the animals were a serious public safety risk as dusk approached, deputies had no choice but to shoot most of the animals before they could scatter into the night and threaten the lives of the nearby community. Tranquilizers don’t work like you see on TV as there is a 20-30 minute delay, if they work at all.
Law enforcement should never have to be put in that scenario and we understand why they made the decision they did. But we don’t ever want this to happen again, which is why we are working with Sheriff Lutz and the National Sheriffs’ Association to spread awareness and gain support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act.
Last month Big Cat Rescuers attended the National Sheriffs’ Association’s annual conference in Minneapolis with this message: tigers, lions and other exotic cats kept in people’s homes, backyards, and roadside zoos pose a serious and completely unnecessary risk to public safety, law enforcement, and first responders.
The National Sheriffs’ Association has been very welcoming of our message, recently publishing our article about big cats and public safety in their July/August issue of Sheriff & Deputy magazine and passing a Resolution in support of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.
We are grateful to the National Sheriffs’ Association and look forward to building relationships with Sheriff departments across the country. To learn more visit:
RESCUED TIGER HOOVER ENJOYING RETIREMENT IN SUNNY FLORIDA
In the last issue of the Big Cat Times we brought you the dramatic story of Hoover’s Rescue. Hoover, a 12-year-old male tiger, spent his entire life in a tiny circus wagon traveling from town to town in Peru, forced to perform tricks. Thanks to the government’s ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and the combined efforts of Animal Defenders International, Peruvian law enforcement, and Big Cat Rescue, Hoover spent his 12th birthday celebrating his freedom as he took his first steps onto U.S. soil and into his new forever home here at the sanctuary.
Hoover was quick to settle in. He loves exploring his massive enclosure, napping in the cool shade of an extra large rock den, and swimming in the refreshing waters of the lake. Hoover has developed quite the following as well. Thousands of people from across the globe tune in to explore.org/bigcatrescue each week to see what Hoover is up to. A live streaming camera is positioned at the lakeside of both his and TJ’s enclosures giving viewers an up close view of their swimming areas.
Watching Hoover enjoy his new found freedom is inspiring. After a lifetime of being forced to perform, Hoover finally has the life he deserves. A life outdoors surrounded by trees with soft grass beneath his paws. A life where he is free to do what he chooses, when he chooses. Exotic animals like Hoover should not be bred for entertainment. You can help animals like Hoover by sharing his story with your friends and family and asking them to never support organizations that exploit exotic animals.
LITTLE CATS HAVING BIG FUN
Since the grand opening of the Funcation enclosure, 22 little cats have enjoyed vacations in this massive new space. Over the past several months these little cats have rotated through the 22,000 square foot enclosure. During their week long getaway they have lots of fun new things to do and plenty of room to roam. Large multi-level platforms offer high vantage points from which they can survey their kingdom, and oversized rock dens are the purr-fect place to take long leisurely cat naps. Many of the little cats do most of their exploring from the early evening hours throughout the night and into the morning.
At this writing 14 little cats remain on the list have a turn in the new Funcation enclosure. Once each has vacationed in the Funcation enclosure we will begin rotating the leopards through this wildcat wonderland. It is thanks to wonderful supporters like you that this fun and exciting home away from home is possible!
COWARDLY LION MEETS COUNTERPART
Aaron Fried and family plus a group of cast members from The Wizard of OZ visited Big Cat Rescue last month. Aaron is a friend of our vet Dr. Boorstein’s family back home in New Jersey. On Friday July 15th the group enjoyed a special tour of the sanctuary. Aaron was really excited to meet our lions since he plays the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz. Cameron gave him a roaring welcome, however, Joseph, in typical lion fashion, was napping the afternoon away.
For information about the show visit:
http://www. wizardofozthemusical.com/ ustour/about-the-show/
7 MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Below are questions we hear many times every day. They are the most common questions that people ask. Please check out the links to get the complete answer to each question.
1. Do You Have Babies? No real sanctuary will have baby animals. Exploiters will use cubs until they are nearly full grown for pay to play schemes; then they are dumped. If you see a facility that often has baby animals, then you know they are part of the problem, not the solution. Find out more at: http://bigcatrescue.org/ breedingkills/
2. Can I Pet Them? No legitimate facility will let you or anyone else pet exotic animals. They won’t post pictures of themselves doing it either. It’s dangerous, sends a bad message, and is the number one reason for the abuse of exotic animals. Find out more at: http://bigcatrescue.org/cubs/
3. Why Can’t They Go Free? Our goal is a world where all wild cats live free, but until we are able to stop the captive breeding of wild cats for exploitation, get more info on why cats born in cages can never go free: http://bigcatrescue.org/ gofree/
4. Who Else Can I Donate To? Because people know and trust us they often ask us if there are other good organizations they can donate too. This page gives you far more detail on how to make those important decsions: http://bigcatrescue.org/ donatetoo/
5. Don’t They Need a Friend? Cats are solitary by nature. Find out why they are happier to have their own space at: http://bigcatrescue.org/ solitary/
6. Do You Have Cheetahs or Jaguars? These cats almost never end up in need of rescue. Cheetah are so inbred and fare so poorly in captivity that they never end up in need of rescue. Zoos have to rely primarily on importing them from the wild to keep them in cages. Jaguars are very rarely found in captivity and due to their power and intelligence are almost never kept as pets, so they don’t often end up in need of rescue. We know places that have bought both cheetah and jaguars, and called it a rescue, but Big Cat Rescue has not purchased animals to rescue them since we learned better in the 1990s. http://bigcatrescue.org/ cheetah-jaguar/
7. What Would You Do in a Hurricane or in case of an Escape? Find out how Big Cat Rescue prepares for the worst and works to keep the cats and surrounding community safe: http://bigcatrescue.org/ critical-incident-hurricane- and-disaster-plan/
VISITING YOUR FAVORITE BIG CATS JUST GOT EASIER!
For several years we used a ticketing agent because we cannot afford full time staff to answer the phones and book tours. They served us well but went out of business over the 4th of July holiday weekend with only 2 days notice to us. We had to scramble on our end so there would be no disruption of service on our guest’s, but we got it done and were up and running with Peek.com in just a couple days.
The bad news is that Peek doesn’t offer phone support, so you can’t call and book a tour, if we don’t have someone here who can answer the phone AND do the booking.
The good news is that Peek makes it so easy to book your tour from your computer or smart phone that you don’t need to call. Go to BigCatRescue.org/tickets and see how easy it is to find the tour you want and book it immediately.
You will experience a secure payment system, quick online release waiver (so you don’t have to stand in line when you arrive), the ability to include any discount passes you might have, a full description of what is included, an immediate confirmation email detailing all of your tour info, your receipt, a map to the sanctuary and links allowing you to reschedule if necessary at no added cost.
And you can give any tour as a gift, or just give a dollar amount and let your recipient choose the adventure.
THOR UPDATE – CAMERA TRAPS
We are very excited to share these camera trap photos of our most recently rehabilitated and released Florida bobcat Thor.
Back in February Thor had been found in the middle of the night after having been hit by a car. He was captured at the scene and rushed to Big Cat Rescue for an emergency exam. Thor sustained several critical injuries including multiple breaks to his upper and lower jaw, a broken canine, and fractures to the eye socket and shoulder blade. Thor was examined and treated by Dr. Miller an opthalmologist, Dr. Gingerich a dental surgeon, and our own Dr. Boorstein. After three months of intensive care and recovery Thor was healed and ready to go back home.
Following Thor’s release, on a 100 acre preserve, camera traps were deployed in an effort to track his progress. The cameras are checked once a month and so far each time they have captured images and videos of Thor in his new home. We will continue to maintain the camera traps at the release site for as long as possible in an effort to study and document the success rate of rehabilitated Florida bobcats.
You can help fund the ongoing research of rehabilitated and released Florida bobcats by purchasing a camera trap on our wishlist at: http://bigcatrescue.org/ wishlist/
We have two camera options listed. The 14 megapixel Bushnell Aggressor is a great camera, at $128, that captures both photos and videos. It has a quick trigger speed which is important for capturing images of fast moving animals such as carnivores. These cameras are checked monthly and moved or adjusted as needed depending on the resulting images. The step up from this camera is the Bushnell Aggressor Wireless. This camera costs $514 and has all the same features of the other camera with the added bonus of a wireless program. The wireless program uses a $10 per month data plan to transmit images to our email instantly. Having this information at our fingertips allows us to ensure proper placement of the camera.
We are also able to log in to these cameras remotely and update settings as needed or switch the mode from camera to video. Being able to monitor and access these cameras without going into the field is really helpful in capturing the most images possible. Most wild animals are often deterred from the site of the cameras for a few days following our visits to check them. Bobcats in particular may avoid the area for 1-2 weeks resulting in fewer images and videos of our target species.
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