Sunday, September 25, 2016

Lake Metroparks looks to hunters to help "organically" feed orphaned bobcat

Lake Metroparks is looking to go organic in order to help care for an approximately seven-month-old female bobcat entrusted to its care.
The orphaned bobcat was around two to three weeks old when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife requested that Lake Metroparks’ licensed wildlife rehabilitation unit take care of the animal until it is old enough to be returned to the wild.

Presently the female bobcat is secured at the parks system’s Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center, located within the agency’s Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland.
It will stay there with minimal human contact until May of next year when it is expected to be released back into the wild in Athens County, parks officials are saying.

In the meantime the bobcat continues to grow rapidly in its outdoor enclosure which allows the animal to “exhibit its natural behaviors, such as running, climbing, jumping, stalking prey, getting used to outdoor sights, smells, sounds, and so on,” says the center’s head , Tammy O’Neil.

“This enclosure is off limits to public display in order to eliminate any unnecessary interaction with people,” O’Neil said also.

In an effort to offer her natural prey as much as possible, the parks system is requesting that the lottery selected/permitted deer hunters on Lake Metroparks properties consider donating various parts of the whitetail deer they shoot like muscle tissue along with the liver and heart to help feed the bobcat, says Jackie Young with the Lake Metroparks ranger department.

“She will end up eating about two to three pounds a day as she gets bigger,” Young said.

“We will also accept whole legs with the skin intact so she can practice tearing the hide. Additionally, the Nature Center will accept any other game such squirrel, rabbit, waterfowl, doves, fish that may be hunted or fished outside of Lake Metropark properties.”

However, it is equally important to note that if such small game is being donated that it not have been taken with lead shot, pellets or bullets since that sort of metallic material is considered toxic and could harm the bobcat, says the parks system’s executive director, Paul Palaygi.

Last year the Wildlife Center successfully raised two orphaned bobcats that are now back in their natural habitat.

Those hunters and anglers interested in making a donation of game please contact O’Neil at 440-256-1404, Ext. 2135.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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