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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
June 10, 2013

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Contact: Chris Beuoy

Orphaned Bobcats to Leave Wildlife Medical Clinic for Rehabilitation Center

URBANA - Two baby bobcats that left their mother behind in Louisiana nearly a month ago as they inadvertently hitched a ride to central Illinois on a freighter are again about to travel. It is speculated that the mother had built a den in a freight car, which made its way to Tuscola, Ill.

The kittens were brought to the University of Illinois Wildlife Medical Clinic on May 20. After three weeks of supportive care, they are in stable condition, and a place has been found to continue their care until they can be released.

"During their stay at the clinic, both kittens have more than doubled in weight, now weighing in at 3.5 and 2.5 pounds," reports Nicki Rosenhagen, student manager of the non-profit, volunteer-run clinic and a third-year student at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"They came in thin, dehydrated, hungry and full of intestinal parasites, and they are now fat and healthy. They have been eating mice, rats, chicken and fish and are ravenous!"

The bobcats have been kept in the clinic's isolation room to minimize interactions with people and the stress that induces.

"They stay out of sight, hidden in their little den, whenever students go in there," says Rosenhagen. "When we do have to handle them, they are hissing, spitting, growling and swatting the way a healthy bobcat of this age should."

The kittens are fed and cleaned twice each day by one or two student caregivers. A shallow pool of water serves as a litter box.

On Wednesday morning Rosenhagen and Dr. Julia Whittington, medical director of the clinic, will drive the pair to a licensed rehabilitation center called TreeHouse Wildlife Center near Alton, Ill. The center has experience raising and releasing orphaned bobcats, and has a specific enclosure for them.

About the Wildlife Medical Clinic
The Wildlife Medical Clinic is a non-profit organization, run primarily by student volunteers, that accepts ill, injured, or orphaned wildlife 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The clinic's primary goal is to help animals recover to be released back into the wild. It depends on fund-raising, donations and grants to cover the cost of medical equipment, diagnostic testing, specialist consultation and therapeutic and surgical treatments for wild patients. For more information, see