It was a homecoming of sorts for a young bobcat on Friday. The animal that is said to be around nine months old was released back into the wilderness near Lansdowne, Ont., late Friday afternoon. The bobcat named “Bob” was being nursed back to health by staff at the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre over the past week.
“It’s pretty exciting and it’s a real privilege for us to be able to do what we do,” says Sue Meech, director of the centre.
Seeing a bobcat this close is rare in this area, Meech tells Global News, adding that while it is odd to hear of sightings, they are out there.
“They are so elusive that people don’t see them very often. We have very rare sightings — they don’t like people at all.”
A small group of people was there for the release, near where he was found, including those who spotted him on the side of the road. The animal took a little time to leave its kennel, but when it did, he dashed out and disappeared into the forest.
“I think he was well aware we were watching him, and it was going to be a trick,” says Meech. Bob, who was affectionately given his name after a volunteer who recently passed away, was brought to them after it was found to be injured on the side of the road, just north of Lansdowne.
“Someone hit the animal, and it was a hit-and-run,” says Meech.
Fourteen-year-old Michaela Nuttall spotted the bobcat while driving with her father. She said he looked to be in distress so she had to do something.
“When we found it, it wasn’t making any noise at all,” Nuttall says. “It’s really amazing. I thought that it would be at least paralyzed, so I’m glad that it’s OK.”
A neighbour helped transport the bobcat to Sandy Pines, giving staff a chance to treat him promptly.
“The speed with which that happened, saved the animal’s life because it had quite a serious head injury,” says Meech.
Because of the rare sightings of this animal, curiosity surrounded the cat. Meech says in order to cater to the demand, they set up a GoPro in his kennel.
“I understand people wanted to see it, but we couldn’t let them see it because it’s detrimental to the healing.”
Sandy Pines is a non-profit animal sanctuary near Napanee that takes in and rehabilitates wildlife in the area.