Bobcat Winter

Washington—Officials are searching for a female bobcat they say has escaped from the National Zoo.  Ollie, a 25 pound female bobcat was last seen in her enclosure around 7:30 a.m. Monday. USA Today 1/30/17

Photo by Paula Nixon

Winter this year seemed to be filled with bobcat sightings and bobcat stories.

Back in January, I wrote about seeing a bobcat outside my kitchen window. I got a good look at him, but was disappointed to find he had managed to avoid my wildlife camera strapped to a nearby piñon tree.   A few days later I got the above shot—maybe the same cat, but no way to know for sure.

I was ready to post the photo when I ran across this story about a bobcat in Sedona, Arizona.  Game and Fish officials tried to trap the animal after it bit and scratched four people, but ended up having to kill it when it evaded capture.  Tests confirmed what they suspected—the bobcat had rabies.  I decided to call my local game department to find out if there was anything unusual about seeing a bobcat walk through my backyard in broad daylight, not once, but twice.

A few weeks passed and I still hadn’t made the call when I saw the bobcat again.  This time he passed within fifteen feet of the back door, crossing the patio while Dave and I watched in amazement.  He never turned to look at us and seemed to be focused on something that only he could sense, maybe a rabbit.  He flicked his stub of a tail and was gone.

Rick Winslow with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish listened when I told him about my multiple bobcat sightings and said it wasn’t uncommon to see them out and about during the day.  He assured me that rabies is extremely rare in our area—the last case he could recall was years ago in the southern part of New Mexico.

And since then, not a sign of the bobcat.  I’m certain he’s still out there, just keeping a low profile.

After a two-plus day walkabout in the leafy wilds of northern Washington an escaped bobcat returned to the National Zoo and walked right into a trap where some “goodies” had been left for her Wednesday, zookeepers said.
Ben Nuckols—Associated Press 2/1/17


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