Willow Bobcat is currently our youngest animal here at the sanctuary. Willow was born in the wild and orphaned. It is unclear what happened to her mom, but the rehabilitation facility that originally took her deemed her unreleasable due to her seeking out humans. This behavior is not conducive to a safe and successful reintroduction to the wild. Though we would have loved for her to live in the wild, we are committed to giving her the best life possible here at Carolina Tiger Rescue. We are excited to see her grow and thrive under our care.
How Willow Came to the Sanctuary
In August of 2020, Carolina Tiger Rescue got a call from a partner sanctuary in the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance. A five-month-old female bobcat was in need of a home. The bobcat was found on the side of the road in Illinois with her brother in early May. The mother was nowhere to be found and the kittens had blood on their fur. Thankfully the blood was not from the kittens. An animal rescue group found the kittens and brought them to the rehabbers at TreeHouse Wildlife Center. Unfortunately the brother didn’t make it, but the little girl grew up healthy and strong. They worked for many months to wean the kitten and to keep her away from human contact as much as possible. Then it was time to move her and two other rehab bobcat kittens out into the prerelease enclosure. The other two bobcats scurried away but this little one decided that she would rather stay with the humans. This doesn’t make for a successful reintroduction into the wild. Bobcats and other wild animals that have become too attached to humans do not tend to survive and will often become a “nuisance” animal. They will approach people and look for food around humans. Because she was deemed non-releasable, they had to find a forever home for her.
The rehabbers made a call to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge who passed her information along to The Wildcat Sanctuary. They in turned contacted us and we made arrangements to bring the kitten home. TreeHouse had a wonderful volunteer who offered to drive the kitten to us. After an eleven hour drive, she arrived safe and sound to the sanctuary. We are so excited to offer her a home and are always happy to work with our wonderful sister sanctuaries.
Willow is settling into the sanctuary life well. It was clear pretty quickly why she could not be released back into the wild. While nervous around her new caretakers, she has quickly warmed up to them and is now taking treats off a stick from them. She enjoys enrichment and making a mess for her keepers to clean up!
Willow has typical bobcat coloration. She has grays and browns mixed into her fluffy fur. Her kitten spots are fading and she is filling out and looking more and more like a grown bobcat each day. She has big eyes and a very pink nose!
Where in Sanctuary
Willow lives in an enclosure in Pear Orchard. She lives across from Star Cougar and down the hill from Elvis Serval. She is currently off tour.
Wild Born Animals
It is unclear how Willow became orphaned. However, one problem many wild animals face and one that is becoming more common is loss of habitat due to human encroachment. As we humans continue to expand our territory, it is important to remember we need to preserve land for the wild animals and make corridors and pathways for their territory to remain accessible so they can remain wild.