Having received one orphaned bobcat kitten to raise last week Lake Metroparks is anticipating getting a second kitten sometime today, Thursday, May 23.
This kitten will arrive from Noble County whereas the first bobcat kitten came from Muskingum County.
Both counties have some of the state's highest bobcat populations though by no means is the species common anywhere in the state.
It will become the goal of the staff at Lake Metroparks' Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland to raise both bobcats so the animal will have the best opportunity to survive on their own in the wild.
Having a second bobcat to raise likely will help ensure a grater chance of success, says Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks' executive director.
“This way the two bobcats will have the opportunity to interact through play the role they'll have once they are released,” Palagyi said. “It will be a great way for them to exercise, learn how to defend themselves through play as well as learn from each other.”
However, also says, Palagyi, as yet the agency has no clue regarding the health status of the second bobcat kitten, its age nor even its sex.
“We have our fingers crossed, and hopefully it's not on its last legs,” Palagyi.
Breathing its last hardly defines the health of the first bobcat kitten, though, says Palagyi.
If anything “feisty” is an applicable word to describe the young male bobcat kitten, says Palagyi.
“It has very, very sharp teeth that can actually still bite through the leather gloves our staff members must wear when handling him,” Palagyi said. “The only time it even close to be okay to handle is when it's being fed with a bottle, but even then it once bit off the bottle's rubber nipple.”
Should the second bobcat arrive well enough to be care for the Wildlife Center's staff will go about the chore of helping the animals better take on the demands of life in the wild yet without being dependent or accustomed to human intervention.
This job will entail including minimizing exposure to people as much as possible, providing live rodents when the kittens are old enough to begin learning how to hunt, not providing prey at the same time each day and likewise hiding the food.
This last element is to force the bobcats to become hunters and not beggars, says also Tom Adair, the parks system's park services director.
Lake Metroparks is accepting donations for the care of the male bobcat kitten. Further information is available by contacting Adair at 440- 639-7275 or the Wildlife Center at 440-256-2131.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn