A bobcat who arrived at the High Desert Museum more than a year ago weighing less than three pounds finally has a name.
The name Timber was selected by the winner of the 2023 High Desert Rendezvous raffle, the museum said Thursday. The winning ticket was pulled at the Museum’s annual gala on August 26.
No longer a kitten, Timber is now a full-grown male.
“Timber is undoubtedly now a visitor favorite at the Museum,” Museum Executive Director Dana Whitelaw said in a statement. “While bobcats are well-established in the High Desert, it’s rare to see one, especially so close. So Timber presents a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with an important predator of the High Desert.”
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The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had placed the bobcat at the Museum after he was found in the Portland area separated from his mother. State wildlife officials initially returned the bobcat to the area where he was found in the hope that his mother would return, but the kitten soon gravitated toward people again. Since the bobcat was habituated to humans, he wasn’t suitable for release into the wild.
The Museum’s wildlife team has expertise in caring for feline predators and began working with Timber so he would learn behaviors that assist in his care. He had matured enough by this past April to begin making periodic appearances before visitors.
“Timber is smart and took quickly to training and working with wildlife staff,” says Curator of Wildlife Jon Nelson. “He also enjoys visitors and at times can be seen playing with people through the viewing glass of his habitat.”
In the wild, bobcats eat a wide range of prey including birds and small mammals. Timber enjoys meals of rats, mice, rabbit, quail and other whole-animal foods at the Museum, Nelson says.
The Museum cares for more than 120 animals, from otters to raptors. The majority of animals are nonreleasable, either due to injuries or because they became too familiar with humans. At the Museum, they serve as ambassadors who educate visitors about the conservation of High Desert species and landscapes.