Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care gives injured bobcat second chance
Special to the Sierra Sun
A weak and injured male bobcat is regaining his strength, thanks to efforts of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
Starting in February, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care started receiving calls about a potentially injured and very thin looking bobcat in the Truckee area.
“Due to bobcats’ extremely elusive nature, there were sightings, but he was hard to find. Then we got a call from a woman who had found the bobcat in her barn. He was so thin and exhausted, he was easy to rescue,” a Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care newsletter stated.
An exam showed the bobcat had an old broken pelvis injury that was semi-healed and a broken back left leg. On top of that, he was starving. Adult male bobcats should weigh around 30-45 pounds, while this bobcat weighed just 10.8.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care reached out to Dr. Scott Kidd at Burton Creek Veterinary Clinic and explained the situation. Dr. Kidd offered his help, so with his aid, Dr. Shane Sheets, and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care animal care techs, performed a successful surgery on the bobcat’s leg on Feb. 27.
A recent donation from Sue and Mark Jameson allowed Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care to purchase a new X-ray machine, which the staff were able to use to check on the bobcat’s recovery.
Since then, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has been working to prevent him from moving or jumping too much while he heals. However, bobcats are climbers, so it’s important for him to be able to get up high. The center installed some special ramps in his enclosure to allow him to climb up onto the high perches without having to jump.
Because his weight was so low, staff first had to regulate his eating, to prevent him from overeating.
Staff has to use anesthesia to weigh him, which they are trying to limit, so they don’t have an updated weight.
“We’re putting food in there and he’s eating it,” said Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Board Member Greg Erfani. “He eats what he wants then hides the rest of the food around his enclosure, which is normal behavior for a bobcat. He’s acting like a normal bobcat.”
The ultimate goal is to release the bobcat back into the wild. In the first week of May, which will be 10 weeks after his surgery, they will re-examine him. If he’s healed, they will remove the ramps from his enclosure so he can jump up on perches again and regain leg strength. They will also reintroduce live prey to make sure he’s still able to hunt.
“Even with major leg injuries and being extremely underweight this guy keeps fighting to survive. He won’t give up and neither will we,” the newsletter said.
To help feed the bobcat, make a donation at laynelabs.com, which helps provide food for carnivores.
To donate to LTWC, visit https://ltwc.org/donate.
Laney Griffo is a staff writer with the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun
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