A glimps into the world of wildlife rehabilitation…the world through a rehabber's eyes.

Darlean The Three legged bobcat

Here is yet another story about the under dog succeeding. The odds were stacked against her. Alone, badly injured, the critical location of her amputation injury disallowed it to heal in a natural environment. Exhausted, malnourished, and battling a severe infection; yet another bobcat is saved through the networking efforts of a local animal services division and WCCR. Cutting edge therapy and conditioning helped this girl overcome the hand she had been dealt. This is Darlean’s story.


Darlean had an incredible wild spirit, and a steadfast determination to return to her world. WCCR nurtures and heals these broken bodies and souls.  We do not determine their timeline. They tell us when they are ready to go. When Darlean told us she was ready, we granted her the freedom she craved.

We never release an animal before we know they are ready. There is no timeline, and no formula to follow. When they are ready, they will tell you. They will reassure you that you have done everything you can possibly do to prepare them to return to a world that you can no longer share with them. It will hurt. It is so easy to get attached to these amazing souls when you work with these animals as closely as we do.

Even if we cannot show our love to these precious creatures through the same affections we lavish on our pets, even if the only possible way to show our love for them is to trust that they are right; that they, and not you, know they are ready, we as rehabilitators must learn to listen to the wild ones. The hardest part of my job as a rehabilitator of wildlife is to listen to my wards when they tell me that it’s time to go. Especially the ones like Darlean that needed that little something extra to return to the world that they belong in. They allow me to have a fleeting glimpse into their world while they healed in my care, and allow me, for a moment, the attachment that comes with sharing such an intimate and secret experience.

Darlean’s release brought with it a rush of elation. So many people worked so hard to grant her wild heart the world it desired. A world that would no longer be a battle for the stronger, energized, and healthy body that she was returning in. A world that would embrace her with open arms, and give her the life she was destined to live.

Darlean’s release also brought controversy. Many who do not understand her powerful desire to return to her world, and the intelligent and adaptable nature of these incredible predators felt it irresponsible to release an animal that they viewed as handicapped. Darlean was far from handicapped, and more than prepared to return to her position in the world. It takes a powerful and determined creature to succeed in a harsh, wild world. Darlean was ready for it. It was her world after all, and her world to return to.


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