The High Desert Museum (HDM) has a new resident: an 8-month-old male bobcat that was taken from the wild twice in six days and can’t be returned. And the public will soon be able to see it periodically.
The kitten, which doesn’t have a name, was removed from the wild by people near Portland, HDM said, and turned it in to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW said it was not unusual for animals to leave their young for long periods of time.
ODFW returned the bobcat where it was found. But six days later, someone else found it and brought it back in.
At that point, ODFW looked for other options. HDM says the bobcat arrived in their care in October, weighing less than three pounds.
HDM says it’s not clear if the kitten had been orphaned or if it was separated by its parents by a well-meaning citizen. Wildlife officials have said repeatedly that people should not try to “rescue” wildlife, but contact them instead to report it.
Regardless of the circumstances, HDM said the kitten could not be returned to its original location and rehabilitation of bobcats is “not generally allowed in Oregon to avoid releasing human-habituated predators on the landscape.”
The bobcat is now 15 1/2 pounds, according to the museum, and is thriving. It should reach full size — about 20-25 pounds — in another year. The bobcat enjoys meals that include rats, mice, rabbit, quail and other whole-animal foods.
HDM also says the kitten “is a smart animal who has taken quickly to training and working with wildlife staff.”
In the coming weeks, the bobcat will be available for the public to see from time-to-time in the atrium where Gert the gray fox lives. HDM says the bobcat and fox cannot be in the atrium at the same time, so they will rotate.
A chance to name the new bobcat will be auctioned off on Saturday, August 26 at the High Desert Rendezvous fundraiser.