|Zoo staff observe the bobcat exploring his new forever home.|
We all held our breath as Julie opened the door, and at first, the little guy wouldn't come out! Carrie called for him using his private training name, and soon this gorgeous - but actually not so little - cat zipped right out into his exhibit and straight to the fence to look at us all! Staying true to the cat family, he smelled and rubbed up against every stick, plant, sprinkler head, and wall that he could. The golden lion tamarins housed next door were watching us observe the bobcat and started chirping loudly to get our attention, not knowing that a predator moved in nearby (the two species will never be able to see each other but may hear and smell each other; the tamarins have never known this kind of animal and so they may never fear it).
|The bobcat exploring the tallest point in his exhibit.|
In less than five minutes, the bobcat had leaped to the catwalks lining the top of the exhibit wall and checked out the beautiful oak woodland habitat surrounding the zoo. As he came around a corner, he startled the neighboring resident golden eagle, who with her excellent vision will probably always be keeping a watchful eye on the bobcat's every move.
|The bobcat smelled the top of the old Christmas tree before|
rubbing his scent on it - and then dragging it off!
As a wild squirrel in a tree behind us barked an alarm, the cat moved back down to the floor of the exhibit and had discovered his bright green ball. The phrase "a cat is a cat whether it is big or small" had never seemed more true: the bobcat swiped at and chased after his ball like a house cat chasing after a toy mouse! He would occasionally stop to scratch his very sharp claws into tree logs in his exhibit and roll around in the dirt, and would occasionally come up to the fence - seemingly to say "hi" - and watch us intently as we walked away.
Knowing that the bobcat was comfortable in his exhibit, we contacted the press and invited them out for a media event to photograph the cat and interview staff. The Record, The Lodi News Sentinel, and News 10 came out on Friday the 17th and produced great articles and segments that you can see in the links below. Our VIPs and donors joined us for a breakfast preview on the 18th, and our membership has been invited for a special breakfast preview on the 25th. However, the bobcat is available for anybody to see 7 days a week from 10AM-5PM with zoo admission.
Despite the fact that the bobcat seems to behave like an over-sized house cat, the reality is that this animal is a wild and potentially dangerous creature whose species plays a very important role in a variety of North American habitats. This bobcat joined us because he became too habituated to humans during his rehabilitation period to be released into the wild, where his personality would pose a danger both to him and to humans. Therefore, his new role is to join Micke Grove Zoo staff in educating visitors about local predators and their habitats and most importantly, what humans can do to help protect them.
LINKS TO NEWS ARTICLES
Lodi News Sentinel - Micke Grove Zoo's feisty new bobcat is right at home
The Record - Bobcat settling in at Micke Grove Zoo
WHY DOESN'T THE BOBCAT HAVE A NAME?
The Micke Grove Zoological Society will be leading a fundraising based naming program to provide the bobcat - and many other animals at the zoo - a stage name that the public will come to know the animals by!