Born: Approx: December 2020
Arrived at Big Cat Rescue: May 19,2021
Released back to the wild: 11/17/2021
This morning we took in two more bobcats! Two 6 month old kittens who were found covered in mange in South Florida. The Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida originally rescued the pair and gave them initial treatment. At the moment they are amid a big move to a new property and are building some very nice enclosures. During the transition they needed a hand with placing these two somewhere to continue their rehabilitation and we gladly offered to help. They will be housed in quarantine in the Rehab Hospital until the mange clears up. Otherwise they are vibrant and very feisty!
June 1, 2021 The most asked question lately is why there hasn’t been any updates about the two older bobcat rescues…. that’s because there really hasn’t been anything to say! However- they do have names! Pia is the protector and the first to lunge at you and the first to eat. Venkman has the most healing to do but loves to eat and loves to talk! They are still in the rehab hospital on strict quarantine but are doing well and both have shown improvement with the Mange they came in with. They love to eat and love to be destructive.
June 15, 2021 Pia and Venkman went outside today. Their mange is healed and now they need to regain their strength and we need to evaluate their ability to catch prey before being released back to the wild in a few weeks.
Searching for our rehab bobcats each day is a challenge!
July 1, 2021 Pia and Venkman were vaccinated for rabies.
Pia and Venkman may be collared by the FWC in order to track them to see what can be learned about the disease that is killing so many of the bobcats and Florida Panthers. They will stay with us a little longer than usual so they can grow more before being released back to the wild to be studied by the FWC
July 21, 2021 Congratulations it’s a girl! Times two. Pia and Venkman were never sedated prior to their arrival or while under our care so we were unsure if they were male or female. Today they were both captured and examined and both turned out to be girls!
Wild bobcats come to Big Cat Rescue for two reasons:
Injuries such as having been hit by cars or disease, illness, birth defects.
Kittens that have been separated from their mothers or orphaned and are too young to survive in the wild.
Upon arrival, the cats receive a full exam and given whatever medical care is needed for their injuries or illness. Blood is drawn and tested for infectious diseases. They are vaccinated, dewormed, and flea treated.
Injured cats are given the time and supportive care they need to heal. They must prove they can hunt and survive before being released. Our six rehab pens are 230 feet long by 20 feet wide giving the cats 4600 square feet of natural space to learn their skills.
When possible kittens are given a domestic surrogate mother. When a surrogate is not available the kittens are bottle fed but weaned from the bottle as soon as possible. They are then raised with as little human contact as possible and given opportunities to learn to hunt.
Rehabbing and releasing bobcats is much more difficult than 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.
While we do bobcat rescue, rehab and release in Florida, we will not relocate bobcats as state law requires that they are 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/manager of the property.
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.
Support The Bobcat Rehab Program
Will YOU Help us Rehab & Release more wild bobcats?
This rehab and release program is made possible by donations from friends like you. Your donation is tax deductible.
Did You Know? Here at Big Cat Rescue, literally 100% of your donations are spent directly FOR THE CATS!!! We are able to adhere to that strict policy because the other sanctuary expenses, administrative expenses, salaries etc come out of tour fees and other sources of income. We are extremely serious about donations being used JUST FOR THE CATS!
Because of adhering to that strict policy regarding donations, and all of the other ways Big Cat Rescue is transparent in our operations, we have earned Charity Navigator‘s highest 4-star rating for “sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency” EVERY YEAR since we were first evaluated by them in 2010. CharityNavigator.org
Donate towards the rehabilitation and care of a native Florida bobcat at Big Cat Rescue. Donors who contribute $500 and up to support the bobcats will receive a beautiful ceramic tile with a color image of the most recent rehab bobcat and the donor name that will be displayed in the tour waiting area for a year and then permanently installed at the sanctuary.
If you are interested in supporting the rehab bobcats go to https://big-cat-rescue.myshopify.com/collections/bobcat-rehab/products/bobcat-rehabilitation-program
Bobcat Rehab Gear
You can find shirts, tote bags, mugs, necklaces, mousepads and so many more fun items featuring Rehab Bobcats in our online gift shops. Go to reach gift shop linked below and search “Rehab bobcat.” Your PURRchases of Rehab bobcat Gear helps us provide for all the cats at Big Cat Rescue and work toward ending the abuse and exploitation of big cats.
Awesome job to the rehab team catching Pia and Venkman today for their final weigh ins prior to their release. These two are going to be part of it very special program that we are excited to share with you in the very near future. Pia weighed 17 lbs 3 oz and Venkman weighed 14 lbs 8 oz. These two arrived covered in mange and are so beautiful and healthy now.
What an exciting night! I have been rehabbing and releasing native Florida bobcats for 18 years and today I got to help collar two of my charges Pia and Venkman in a collaborative effort with the fish and wildlife department. It will be amazing to see what and how these two do post release. The data collected from tracking them will also help future bobcats So thankful to my wonderful rehab team for all their hard work making our program the very best. Special thanks to Justin Boorstein for coming out to sedate the duo for their exams and collaring. More photos from this epic night to come.
The best days are when you get to print these signs. It means a bobcat is going back home Pia and Venkman have been captured and loaded into transport crates. They are on their way to their new home where they will live free.This duo came to us 5 months ago suffering from mange. They were treated, given time to recover, and are the first of our rehabbed bobcats that were collared so they can be monitored post release.
Pia and Venkman were successfully released today on a 2,000+ acre site surrounded by tens of thousands of protected lands. Their release marks our 44th and 45th bobcat release. Pia and Venkman’s release was a historic one for BCR as they are our first collared bobcats. We are very excited to see their progress post release in this collaborative effort with FWC.
Update from the field – Today I received these camera trap images of Venkman near her release site. She and Pia are off on their own, but are still in the same general area. It’s so good to see these cats thriving on their own.
It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you some difficult news regarding our rehab bobcat Venkman. I learned today that she was shot and killed by a hunter. Why anyone feels the need or desire to kill animals for fun I will never understand. This world has lost a beautiful and fierce soul and research into the lives of wild bobcats has been thwarted. It is absolutely gut wrenching to have cared for a sick wild animal for months on end only to have her right to a full and free life taken away.
Venkman’s body has been recovered and following an exam by the FWC she will be brought back home to be laid to rest.
Pia and Venkman came to Big Cat Rescue last year suffering from a severe case of mange. They were successfully treated and overcame the infestation. Months later they were both collared in a collaborative effort with the FWC Panther Team to study the wild behaviors of our native small cats and to aid in the research of FLM (a neurological disorder affecting Florida’s wildcats). Both were released into a large preserve in November 2021. While Pia has stayed near the original release location Venkman ventured far outside its borders into neighboring private lands.
3/17/2022 Update from Jamie
Pia Update – Pia, a rehabilitated native FL bobcat was released in November of last year. Check out the latest tracking update showing her movements in her new territory! (The landscape has been altered to conceal her exact whereabouts). Pia seems to have chosen a particular area she prefers and we hope that she make make this area a denning site. Boots on the ground, the Panther Project team, reports that Pia has developed a taste for vultures They nest on the ground and evidence shows that Pia has been feeding on both adults and their chicks.
For everyone wondering about what can be done regarding Venkman’s senseless killing fear not! You better believe we are on it and when we need your support and assistance we will reach out. So stay tuned..
Here is a look at Pia and Venkman’s territory size. Pia’s is in blue and Venkman’s is in green. The territories encompass their pinged locations from November 18 through January 10. (The map background has been altered to protect the exact location of Pia.)
May 28, 2022
Pia living wild and free!
Caught on a camera trap…
Update May 31, 2022
Updates from the Field: Check out what our bobcats are doing in the wild! Pia’s territory is in blue, Byrdie’s is in pink and Cahira’s is in purple.Unfortunately Cahira’s collar stopped working the day after release, so we do not have much data on her whereabouts. We are hoping to spot her on one of the many deployed camera traps in the area, but if she moves off of the release site grounds we may not get any further information.Byrdie has been very busy traveling all over the place scouting out an area to call her own. She has overlapped Pia a little bit, perhaps if they run into one another in the wild they will recognize each other.Pia continues to do well. She is more established and has a pretty set home territory now.(The map background has been altered to protect the exact location of Pia.)Learn more about Byrdie and Cahira and their rehab journey.
July 21, 2022
Our rescue work this past year has continued to be dominated by an unusual number of orphaned or injured native Florida bobcats, each with its own unique story, but now with a new twist. There is almost nothing known about how Florida bobcats behave in the wild, like how large a territory they roam. That is going to change because working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists we have begun the first ever program of collaring the bobcats we release. The first cats to be collared were Pia and Venkman. They were six months old on arrival so were good candidates once they recovered from the severe case of mange they had. The collars allow us to track their movements online, which has been fascinating. They behaved very differently from each other in establishing their territories. We were devastated and furious when a hunter, who we believe could clearly see the collar, shot and killed Venkman, but Pia is thriving.