DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND FISH RELEASES BOBCATS BACK INTO THE WILD
SANTA FE – Three young bobcats are back in the wild after being released April 4 by Department of Game and Fish staff near Glorieta Mesa near Santa Fe.
The Wildlife Center in Española rehabilitated the bobcats after they were found in residential areas of Eldorado near Santa Fe last spring.
A homeowner discovered a litter of bobcats under his deck and called the department for advice. Conservation Officer Brady Griffith told the homeowner to leave the bobcats alone and wait for the mother to move the kittens. The mother moved her kittens, but she left one behind. The homeowner asked Griffith for help and pulled a board from his deck so Griffith could retrieve the kitten and take it to The Wildlife Center.
“The kitten was about the size of my hand,” Griffith said. “Its eyes were still closed, but it looked in good health.”
About a week later, Conservation Officer Megan Morales received a complaint about a bobcat in a barn in Eldorado. After she sedated the bobcat, she discovered two kittens hidden in the straw. Morales brought the mother and her two kittens, thought to be about two weeks old, to The Wildlife Center for care.
For the cats, that was a best-case scenario, according to the center. All three kittens imprinted on an adult bobcat instead of a human, and were raised together.
Rick Winslow, bear and cougar biologist for the department, was pleased with the success of the rehabilitation and happy to see them return to the wild.
The cats growled loudly when the doors to their crates were opened one by one. They turned their heads side to side sniffing the air and slinked away. Their spotted coats camouflaged them in the grass and shrubs at the release site, making it an ideal place for them to hone their hunting skills.
“Truly rehabilitated animals retain their natural fear of humans, and their power to defend and feed themselves without our help,” Winslow said. “Wild animals need these instincts if they are going to make it out here.”
For more information about bobcats and other wildlife, please visit the department's website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us or follow the link to Wildlife Notes.