The High Desert Museum (HDM) has a new resident: an 8-month-old male bobcat that was taken from the wild and can’t be returned.
The kitten, which doesn’t have a name, removed from the wild by people near Portland, HDM said. It weighed less than three pounds when it arrived at the museum in October.
HDM says it’s not clear if the kitten had been orphaned or if it was separated by its parents by a well-meaning citizen. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said animals often leave their young to feed, but will return.
You can see photos of the bobcat from 1-month-old to 5-months-old in the video above.
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Wildlife officials have said repeatedly that people should not try to “rescue” wildlife, but contact them instead to report it.
Regardless of the circumstances, HDM said the kitten could not be returned to its original location and rehabilitation of bobcats is “not generally allowed in Oregon to avoid releasing human-habituated predators on the landscape.”
The bobcat is now 15 1/2 pounds, according to the museum, and is thriving. It should reach full size — about 20-25 pounds — in another year. The bobcat enjoys meals that include rats, mice, rabbit, quail and other whole-animal foods.
HDM also says the kitten “is a smart animal who has taken quickly to training and working with wildlife staff.”
In the coming weeks, the bobcat will be available for the public to see from time-to-time in the atrium where Gert the gray fox lives. HDM says the bobcat and fox cannot be in the atrium at the same time, so they will rotate.
A chance to name the new bobcat will be auctioned off on Saturday, August 26 at the High Desert Rendezvous fundraiser.