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When the injured bobcat was found by the side of the road, the San Diego Animal Services Officer packed him into the truck and drove him to the Fund For Animals Wildlife Center in Ramona, CA.
“The officer didn’t think the bobcat would survive the one hour drive to the Wildlife Center, but she made the trip anyway,” said Ali Crumpacker, the Center’s director. “But upon opening the carrier the officer and staff were surprised to find him standing up, alert, and hissing in fear. A bloody nose was all that indicated this cat had been injured at all.”
The FFA Wildlife Center, which is owned and operated by the Humane Society of the United States, rescues and rehabilitates native predators, including bobcats. In early spring, they see an increasing number of yearlings come in with injuries.
“Older, larger bobcats stake out their property and chase the youngsters off. They are forced to find a less suitable area closer to humans where hunting natural prey while staying out of harm’s way is harder,” explained Crumpacker. “As the cats get hungrier, they also get desperate. Some bobcats may locate dry kibble left out for feral cats or the backyard dog, causing alarm for homeowners as the cats are spotted in dense neighborhoods far away from the canyons. Others, such as this week’s victims, will stalk the side of a road looking for road kill, a quick and easy meal.”
Not all the bobcats are as lucky as the young male recovering at the Wildlife Center. A female found injured by a concerned citizen died of a punctured lung after arriving at the center, another car accident victim.
Crumpacker points out that everyone can help bobcats stay in safe territory and out of harm’s way. Start by not littering. “Apple cores and french-fries tossed out the window attract wildlife to the edge of the road,” she said.
If you do hit an animal, Crumpacker always recommends calling your local animal control agency or wildlife rehabilitator to assist if the animal is alive and injured or calling the proper authorities to coordinate removal of dead animals so they do not attract predators.
“Do not attempt to handle large or dangerous animals yourself,” she added, and always check and make sure it is safe to pull over or get out of the car when an accident occurs.
GreaterGood.org provides funding for FFA sanctuaries across the United States through the “Click Here To Give” program at The Animal Rescue Site.
You can learn more about the bobcat rehabilitation program here.
Photos: Injured male yearling (top left) at the FFA Wildlife Center. Photo courtesy of Fund For Animals
Update on February 22: "The young male was successfully released this morning! Unfortunately, I don’t believe we have any useable photos of the release. He shot off straight away and didn’t look back," wrote Crumpacker in an e-mail.