A weak and injured male bobcat regains his strength, thanks to the efforts of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care.
Beginning in February, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care began receiving calls about a potentially injured and very thin bobcat in the Truckee area.
“Due to the extremely elusive nature of bobcats, 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 skinny and exhausted that he was easy to save,” said a Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care newsletter.
An examination showed the bobcat had an old broken pelvis wound that was half healed and a broken left hind leg. On top of that, he was starving. Adult male bobcats should weigh around 30 to 45 pounds, while this bobcat weighed only 10.8.
Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care contacted Dr. Scott Kidd of the Burton Creek Veterinary Clinic and explained the situation to him. Dr. Kidd offered to help, so with his help, Dr. Shane Sheets and animal care technicians from Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care performed successful surgery on the bobcat’s leg on February 27.
A recent donation from Sue and Mark Jameson enabled Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care to purchase a new X-ray machine, which staff could use to check for bobcat recovery.
Since then, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has been working to keep him from moving or jumping too much while he heals. However, bobcats are climbers, so it is important that he can get up high. The center has installed special ramps in its enclosure to enable it to climb onto the high perches without having to jump.
Because her weight was so low, the staff had to regulate her diet first, to prevent her from overeating.
The staff have to use anesthesia to weigh him, which they try to limit, so they don’t have up-to-date weights.
“We put food in there and he eats it,” said Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Board member Greg Erfani. “He eats what he wants and then hides the rest of the food around his enclosure, which is normal behavior for a bobcat. He acts like a normal bobcat.
The ultimate goal is to release the bobcat back into the wild. In the first week of May, 10 weeks after his operation, they will re-examine him. If he’s cured, they’ll remove the ramps from his enclosure so he can jump on perches again and regain his leg strength. They will also reintroduce live prey to ensure it is still able to hunt.
“Even with serious leg injuries and extremely underweight, this guy continues to fight to survive. He won’t give up and neither will we,” the bulletin reads.
To help feed the bobcat, donate at laynelabs.comwhich helps provide food for carnivores.
To donate to LTWC, visit https://ltwc.org/donate.
Laney Griffo is an editor at the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun