Update: Recovered Bobcat Released in Indiana

May 25, 2016 / General News

[recovered bobcat released in Indiana]

Update on bobcat, posted at 9 am, May 25

The bobcat that was treated for a fractured pelvis last fall has been released back to the wild in her native Indiana! Read the story of her rehabilitation and release on the Facebook page of WildCare Inc. The story of the bobcat’s injury and recovery has a very happy ending!

We know she’s an excellent huntress and has the skills she needs for a successful life in the wild, and we wish her all of the best! Thank you to all of the individuals and agencies that combined efforts to safe this amazing animal’s life & support her recovery and return to the wild!

WildCare Inc.


Update on bobcat, posted at 9:30 am, March 1

The bobcat that was transferred to WildCare Inc., a Bloomington, Ind., wildlife rehabilitation facility, is doing well in her enclosure, according to Amanda Wrigley, a WildCare Inc. board member. She sent an update to Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic:

“She is doing very well. We were able to purchase a large number of small-bodied racing pigeons to use for live feed. It took both of the boys (who never had a chance to hunt with their moms and have only seen slower quail before) quite a while to adapt their hunting techniques successfully for a perching bird rather than a bird flushing from the ground. The little female displayed that her hip is up to complete mobility by climbing, leaping, and twisting to take down her three pigeons in under two minutes!” Wrigley said.

“She really seemed to want to put on weight when she first came back, not leaving a trace of any of her meals. Since it was so cold out then, we bumped up her food slowly to 1.5x a normal feeding for a cat her size—because every time we bumped it up a little she left no trace behind. She’s put on a little weight, but when the snow melted last week we discovered she had been caching food in little hideaways that were completely undetectable under the snow! She’s a master of covering her tracks so you don’t see where she hid leftovers—which is very encouraging!” Wrigley said.

“The two males will be released in the next few weeks, and at that time she’ll be moved into the much larger pre-release cage. It has more room to climb and will make her have to work harder to catch food,” she added. “Right now, she looks ready to go; we just want to give her time for her coat to regrow completely for camouflage and make sure she doesn’t develop any issues once she has a larger area to exercise in.”


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 4 pm, January 26

bobcat in enclosure

This bobcat underwent surgery on December 2 at the University of Illinois to repair a fractured hip. She was returned to a wildlife rehab center in Indiana on January 24.

The bobcat that was transferred to WildCare Inc., in Indiana, is doing well in her new enclosure, according to information that Amanda Wrigley, who serves on the WildCare Inc. board, sent to Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic:

“The female is settling in. She spent the whole first 24 hours trying to find a way out of the cage, even climbing up to the corners to see if she could pop through the roof. She seems to feel safer up high, so she’s spending a lot of her time 12′ to 15′ off the ground right now, whenever she hears anyone approaching—and she can definitely climb! The boys are very interested in her and there’s a lot of loud sniffing from their cage several hundred feet away,” Wrigley said.

“She’s just ignoring them for the most part, but she’s eating well and seems to enjoy the isolation,” Wrigley said. “I think she’ll really have settled in by next week, and this property is only six to eight miles from her intended release location, so hopefully it’ll start to feel like home!”

 


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 2 pm, January 21

A young bobcat that has been at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine since November 28 is ready to go home.

The young animal was hit by a car in Bloomington, Ind., on November 24, and its pelvis was fractured. Because bobcats play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity, Indiana and Illinois wildlife experts did all they could to promote the animal’s recovery and return to the wild.

Treatment has included a four-hour surgery by board-certified veterinary orthopedic surgeons at the University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital on December 2, and six weeks of post-operative care by the volunteers in the Wildlife Medical Clinic.

In early January X-rays showed that the bobcat’s pelvis was healing well. She was moved to an enclosure that gave her room to walk and jump. Now she is going to be transferred back to her home state for some pre-release physical therapy at WildCare Inc., a Bloomington wildlife rehabilitation facility, to rebuild her strength and learn to be a bobcat again. It is hoped that she’ll be back in the wild in time for spring.

Details of the bobcat’s care over the past eight weeks are posted below. Donations toward the care of this bobcat are still being solicited. Donations can be made by visiting go.illinois.edu/givetovetmed and selecting the Wildlife Medical Clinic fund.


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 3 pm, January 7

bobcat jumpAfter checking radiographs of the bobcat last week, the Wildlife Medical Clinic is happy with the healing of her pelvis. Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, who is completing a wildlife medicine internship at Illinois, says that the bobcat’s walking continues to improve to the point that she is now jumping on top of things (see photo). “She is ready to be transferred back to Indiana for rehabilitation and will likely be leaving in the next week or two,” Dr. Rosenhagen says. “In the meantime, she’s been moved to a larger enclosure for some more exercise and stimulation, and she’s adapting well.”


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 4:45 pm, December 17

“She’s using both of her hind legs, she’s eating, she’s grooming, and she’s growling. There’s a lot of growling. But that’s great.” Read Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen’s blog about the bobcat, who is healing (and growling) at the Wildlife Medical Clinic.


 

bobcatUpdate on bobcat, posted at 11:30 am, December 15

According to Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, who is completing a wildlife medicine internship at Illinois, the bobcat continues to do well. “We have a camera on her so that we can monitor her without being in the same room and agitating her,” Dr. Rosenhagen said. “Her appetite and attitude are great, and she’s spending a lot of time grooming and napping, like any good cat. The incision site is looking clean and healthy. She’ll be with us for a little while longer while she continues to heal from the surgery, but we hope to get her back to the rehabilitation facility in Indiana in the not-too-distant future for some physical therapy before she’s ready to go back into the wild.”


Update on bobcat, posted at 11:00 am, December 9

The Wildlife Medical Clinic shared a video where the bobcat appears comfortable, eating and bearing weight on both hind limbs since the surgery.

Watch a few seconds of the bobcat.


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 9:00 am, December 8

[bobcat six days after surgery to repair hip fracture]

This bobcat, hit by a car in Bloomington, Ind., on Nov. 24, is recovering well from a Dec. 2 surgery to repair a hip fracture at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

According to Dr. Julia Whittington, the bobcat being treated by the Wildlife Medical Clinic continues to recuperate following the Dec. 2 surgery to repair a fractured pelvis. The young cat is starting to put weight on her injured back leg as she moves around her enclosure. Clinic student volunteers are closely monitoring the bobcat’s pain level and appetite to make sure she is resting comfortably during this critical stage in her recovery.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of interest in the injured bobcat and for donations, large and small, made on her behalf,” added Dr. Whittington. “It is only through the financial support of the public that the Wildlife Medical Clinic can deliver the services that will give this bobcat a chance at regaining full function and returning to the wild. Every dollar we receive will be used to cover the costs of food, diagnostic tests, equipment, medications, consultations, and surgeries for this animal or for one of the 1,500 other wild patients that need our care every year.”

To donate to the ongoing care of this injured bobcat, please visit go.illinois.edu/givetovetmed.


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 9:25 am, December 3

[two views of pelvis]

These x-rays show the repair made to the bobcat’s pelvis during surgery on December 2.

According to Dr. Julia Whittington, medical director of the Wildlife Medical Clinic, the juvenile bobcat being treated for a fractured pelvis, among other injuries sustained when hit by a car in Indiana, is resting comfortably this morning.  College of Veterinary Medicine surgeons, led by faculty member Dr. Tisha Harper, successfully stabilized the animal’s pelvis during a 3-hour surgery yesterday afternoon. Following surgery, the bobcat received medications to control pain, inflammation and infection. She will be hospitalized during the upcoming weeks where her progress and healing will be closely monitored. We are hopeful that the bobcat will make a full recovery.


 

Update on bobcat, posted at 4 pm, December 2

[staff members at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital prepare an injured bobcat for surgery]

The circle shows the bobcat, draped with a reddish brown material, on the surgical table. Its back leg, which has been shaved and cleansed, can be seen at the left of the circle suspended in the air to allow access to the surgical site. The bobcat weighs about 10 pounds and is the size of a large house cat.

The bobcat was put under anesthesia around 3 pm and was taken to the operating room by 3:15 pm. At right is a photo taken through the viewing window into the orthopedic surgery suite in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Doctors anticipated that the procedure to repair a broken bone in the pelvis by holding it in place with a metal plate should take about 90 minutes. If all goes well, the bobcat should be recovered from the procedure sufficiently within a few weeks to be transferred back to WildCare Inc. in Bloomington, Ind., to undergo rehabilitation.

The Wildlife Medical Clinic is very grateful for the donations received from the public in response to the request for help.

To donate toward the care of this injured bobcat, please visit go.illinois.edu/givetovetmed.


 

A six-month-old bobcat struck by a car in Bloomington, Ind., on November 24 will undergo surgery to repair a fractured pelvis at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital this afternoon. Leaders of the university’s Wildlife Medical Clinic are seeking donations to cover the cost of the surgery and recovery for the injured bobcat, which will exceed $3,000.

[injured bobcat in a cage at the Wildlife Medical Clinic]

Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen says the young bobcat is very feisty and must be anesthetized in order for it to be safely examined or handled. That behavior is appropriate for a healthy wild animal and bodes well for its recovery.

“Rarely do members of the Wildlife Medical Clinic have the chance to impact an ecosystem in such a significant way with one animal,” said Dr. Nicki Rosenhagen, who is completing a wildlife medicine internship at Illinois. “It’s a chance we can’t pass up, but we need help to cover the expense.”

The bobcat was transferred to Illinois on November 28 from WildCare Inc., a Bloomington wildlife rehabilitation facility, which was unable to cover the cost of the orthopedic surgery deemed essential for the long-term survival of the animal. Orthopedic surgeons at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital agreed to perform the procedure at a discounted price. Because the animal is young and otherwise in good health, veterinarians are hopeful that full recovery is possible.

Bobcats play a crucial role as an apex predator, contributing to a healthy diversity of species by controlling the rodent and rabbit population to numbers manageable for the environment. Bobcats were listed as an endangered species in Indiana for nearly 40 years. Though the bobcat population is finally expanding there, this animal and her mother were the first female bobcats reported in the Bloomington, Ind., area in the past three years. Bloomington residents and wildlife leaders are eager to have this animal returned to the wild.

“The Wildlife Medical Clinic has to be judicious in spending on one particular animal,” explained Dr. Rosenhagen, “but this case fulfills all three branches of our mission: to provide care and treatment to sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, to offer hands-on training to veterinary students, and to educate members of our community about coexisting with native wildlife.”

To donate toward the care of this injured bobcat, please visit go.illinois.edu/givetovetmed.

The Wildlife Medical Clinic is part of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. It depends solely on fund-raising, donations and grants for its operating budget. All donations are used to pay for food, diagnostic tests, equipment, medications, consultations and surgeries for our patients. Round-the-clock animal care is provided by volunteers, primarily veterinary students at the college.

Background Information

The accident occurred when the young bobcat was crossing a road with her mother and sibling. (Those two animals escaped injury.) Witnesses quickly alerted authorities, and staff from the sheriff’s department and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) transported the injured bobcat to WildCare Inc., where she was stabilized and held overnight. WildCare Inc, like the Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic, is a predominantly volunteer-run wildlife center. It sees roughly 2,500 animals annually.

The next morning the cat was examined at a local veterinary hospital. X-rays revealed a broken rib and multiple broken bones in her pelvis. WildCare Inc. consulted several veterinarians and learned that the services of a veterinary orthopedic surgeon would be critical for the animal’s long-term survival.

“We had nearly given up hope after finding out that it would cost $6,000 to $8,000 for the procedure here in Indiana,” reads a post on the WildCare Inc. Facebook page. Then they contacted Dr. Julia Whittington, medical director at the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic. After learning that the Illinois clinic would assume care of the bobcat and pursue the surgery, the organization wrote, “We are unbelievably excited to see a local Bloomington bobcat get a second chance at life in the wild!”

According to data released by the IDNR, bobcats very rarely pose a threat to humans, their pets, or livestock. Stomach contents of deceased wild bobcats in Indiana consisted almost entirely of rabbits and small mammals rather than birds and, to date, the IDNR has received no verified accounts of bobcats injuring a pet.