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

education

Sometimes, Mother Nature’s “Plan B” needs a Plan B….


Well, followers, many of you are fans on our facebook page…you just come here for the more in-depth scoop of the goings on here at the ranch, huh? Well, we have some very exciting events happening right now, and we could not be more pleased, and sad, and thrilled, and humbled all at the same time!

We rehabbers could be described as a buffer between the natural (and in my opinion “real”) world and the ever advancing industrialized consuming machine that is modern human “culture”. We are celebrators and worshipers of nature, and the amazing things it provides and creates. We are the wild ones, the ones that cannot exist without nature, and find the thought of the absence of nature devastating. We speak for and defend the voiceless ones.

We could never imagine being able to counter-balance our top-heavy world-wide carrying capacity, but instead strive to soften the impact, ever so slightly. Every life we touch, every person we impact, every animal we hold in our hands, is one more chance to do something amazing and good. Ultimately, our goal is to educate humanity of the importance of moderation, stewardship, and responsibility. Our goal is to bolster the wild creatures and ensure their footing in our future world.

Ultimately, our deepest desire is to share these stories with the world, and return these creatures to the wild world where they belong, and where they fit most perfectly. Often, we are successful. Often, we see our goals come to fruition. Sometimes…well, sometimes we end up with beings like Cheeze. Sometimes, these guys just get too missguided through misinformed human intervention to remember how to fit back into their perfect wild world. This, my friends, this is one of the bitter sweet moments in our calling. This is where we mourn for individuals like Quincey (his story can be seen as an earlier entry here on our official blog) who must now spend their days in human captivity rather than fulfilling their destiny as one of the wild ones; uninhibited and free.

Just like we as a species have always sought the silver lining in every dreary cloud, we rehabbers have perfected the art of “plan B”. This bitterness does not come without sweet moments when we realized that though this may not have been Mother Nature’s plan, all is not lost. It now becomes our duty to ensure that this wild one’s life is not without meaning or purpose. We take these unique individuals, and we find a world that fits them.

In the process, we are presented with a very unique situation that carries with it the utmost gravity. This creature, this very special, perfectly designed creature now takes on the position of a teacher. He may not know the gravity associated with his newly created position in life, and even those that come to see and marvel at his beauty may not know (at least in their conscious mind) how important this one, singular creature has become.

This one marvel, this one amazing creation represents hundreds and thousands more of his kind (and others) that are battling for survival…fighting, struggling, defending their right to exist. People may come in the hundreds to get just a glimpse of this elusive, magnificent creature…hundreds more may completely ignore him. But it just takes one. One person to be impacted by the mere presence of the creature in front of them…just one person who’s imagination was lit afire, who’s heart awakened and realized what this singular creature stands for…what nature has been screaming, crying, and trying to tell him through the eons.

Humans are not a separate existence from the earth. Without our earth, we do not exist. Each plant, each animal, each microbial existence in the soil beneath our feet is essential to the well-being of our earth. Our home.

Crosstimbers is absolutely honored to have a part to play in impacting that one person. Today, as of this writing, three of our most memorable cats are headed to new homes. New lives, and new responsibilities of the utmost importance. Today, Crosstimbers wishes safe journeys and wonderful new lives to our three ambassador graduates. We want to share and savor this new beginning with each and every one of our fans and followers.

Cheeze, Ollie, and Yoda graduated from Crosstimbers today, and are now on their way to new lives as teachers…All three of these wonderful kitties are headed to the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

All of the staff members here at Crosstimbers are so excited for these guys. They have all been wonderful teachers to us here, and now go on to continue their work impacting hundreds more in their wonderful new home. Good luck, and safe journey Cheeze, Ollie, and Yoda!

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Queso – a tough rehabbing case!


“Cheeze”

                       

Did we spell it wrong?  No, Cheeze was originally a “Q” in the alphabet, so he was initially named “Queso”.   He was such a unique cat and his name just didn’t fit him. He was so funny and such a ham, that the name “Cheese” seemed to fit him better and it eventually evolved to “Cheeze”.

Cheeze has a sad, but certainly not uncommon story.  He came to us from another rehabilitator in the Houston area.  This particular rehabber, athough very talented with a multitude of wild species, and who has a stellar reputation received Cheeze as a single kit.  She did not know we existed and did not know how incredibly hard it is to raise bobcats to be returned to the wild. 

Almost any rehabber who has made this mistake will only make it once.  Cheeze grew up somewhere between imprinted and having wild instinct.  She handled him just enough for him to like being around humans, but not enough to make him “handle-able”. Not having any previous experience with this species, and with no access to anyone who truly specializes in working with bobcats, this rehabber made the all too common mistake of releasing Cheeze WAY before he was ready. At just six months of age, Cheeze just did not have the emotional fortitude or experience to survive on his own.

Bobcats, in the wild, stay with their mothers until they are at least 10 months of age.  When they go through rehabilitation, a rehabber must commit to care for these animals for a minimum of one year, because until then, they are emotionally just little kittens.  They do not know how to care for themselves, but more importantly, they do not have the emotional capability to do much more than chase and play with anything that moves.  Learning that it must hunt and kill things to survive does not occur to them until they are at least a year of age.  

This rehabber felt they were doing the right thing. Not knowing of anyone else in the United States that works with this species, the rehabber decide to release Cheeze on their private property.  He stuck around.  Played outside, ran to find people when he saw them, and ultimately, when he could not feed himself, turned his frustration, hunger, and aggression towards people. People had always been his food providers. He could not understand why they were not bringing him the things he needed to survive.   

 We agreed to take Cheeze in, knowing that he had severe behavioral issues, and knowing that there was a good chance of injury to one of our many skilled handlers, however, we understood that it was no flaw of his that prompted his aggressive behavior.  He was acting the way he had been “programmed” to act, and for that, we could not fault him.  What we have learned about bobcats is that when imprinted, they want to please, they just don’t always know how.

    Cheese was one of our toughest cases.  He was highly food aggressive and would startle easily.  All trust for humans was gone.  However, since bobcats have an intrinsic desire to want to please, Cheeze set about trying to build trust, and after several years of love and dedication, he is a happy, healthy, respectful young man who has just been put on to our adoption list and is scheduled to go to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. in mid-January. 

It is our greatest joy to know that an animal as beautiful as Cheeze will live a long and happy life being an ambassador to the world in one of the finest educational facilities in our country!


Aside

Bridgie: One of our long term residents


Bridgette

Bridgette came to us in 2008. Her family surrendered their “pet” to us at four months of age. Once they discovered that wild animals can act aggressive at a drop of a hat, especially with those who are not trained in animal behavior, they made the decision to bring her to a facility that would understand her, and give her appropriate care and interaction. 

Although Bridgette is a very sweet cat, like all bobs, she can throw a fit like nobody’s business.  She was a funny kitten who had us laughing all the time.  She could eat more food than any adult on the property.  She would literally gorge herself until she was miserable. 

These pictures were taken one night after she had finished dinner.  It was a night that I will never forget.  It was almost like she ate herself drunk!  This was a progression of pictures over about 30 minutes.  She was watching me from a chair while I worked on my computer.  When I got up, she moved to my chair and made herself at home.

         

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  In 2010, Bridgette contracted viral encephalitis; a pathogen transmitted by mosquito bites. This aggressive disease can have lasting effects. In Bridgette’s case, this resulted in some neurological swelling and though the damage to her brain was not severe, she will always have some lasting effects. Most notably, the small circles she walks when she is out of her comfort zone.

 

We try to protect all of our animals from diseases like encephalitis, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease and other insect borne diseases, but they still slip through on us.  Sadly, Animal facilities will not adopt an animal with any outward damage because visitors are constantly notifying staff of the cat’s “health issue’.  Although Bridgette does not have a future with a zoo or other wildlife facility, she does have a permanent home with us.  Most facilities would be required to euthanize her because she cannot be adopted and cannot be released to the wild. Lucky for  Bridgette, she has a great future here at WCCR. 

 

By making her part of our surrogacy program (being a cage-mate to multiple cats), she has a valuable place with us for the rest of her life. Should a suitable home ever come along for her, she would be considered for another location, but it would have to be the right facility with the right handlers as she is a special needs cat. 

 

She is bonded to only a very few of the staff who spend time with her.  She takes a while to get to know, and to understand, but once she trusts you, it is an unbreakable bond as anyone who works with her will attest to.

 

Bridgette is a healthy non-aggressive girl and a wonderful cage-mate for most any new cat. She suffers from Flea allergies, so we have to take extra precautions during flea season. She gets along with almost everyone, which is unusual, so her job here is to help acclimate new cats to their cages, getting them used to living with new cats and making their transition to new zoos who already have another bobcat in their enclosure much more tolerable. 

Bridgette is a dual purpose kitty here at WCCR! She is one of a handful of our cats that are a part of our research program. She is one of three “vocalizers” that we have on-site at the moment. 

A vocalizer is one of the seven personalities that we have identified who have a tendency to “talk” about everything.  Our other vocalizers, all of whom you will meet in the near future, are Zachia and Peter. 

Over the last couple of years, WCCR and NBRR have grown to an incredible size. We now have more cats on the property than ever before, and the numbers keep growing! We have great people working with us, but need sponsors to help us with funding so that we may keep pace with the demand, and continue to grow!

If you would like to help care for Bridgette, please visit our website and make a donation today!  We cannot do this alone. We are seeking individuals to sponsor each of our cats with a monthly donation!  It is imperative for us to move in this direction if we are to continue to provide for special needs cats just like Bridgette, and the many others that currently call our facility home!  ANY amount helps! For us to continue to take these wonderful cats in, we MUST find sponsors and support. Are you our next one? Keep watching for updates on even more Crosstimbers Cats!


Meet Brave Braelyn. This tough girl has been through alot, and still has a long way to go! We need your help to help her!


braelyn

Braelyn

Braelyn is our most recent intake.  She is VERY sick.  She came to us about a week ago from a ranch where they have been “removing all big cats from the property”.  We hate to hear things like this, because Bobcats should never be considered “Big Cats”, at least not down here in Texas.  Out bobcat species “Texensis” doesn’t get much bigger than a standard house cat. (22-26lbs)

For such a young kitten, Braelyn has had a tough life.   It is very clear to us that her mother was either killed or trapped and taken away.  We know that there is another kit out there that the landowners are now trying to trap so that they may be reunited.  As previously mentioned in our preface, bobkittens stay with their mothers until they are at least 10 months old.  When their mothers are trapped and taken away, they must fight to survive.  Braelyn has clearly had more than a few battles.  She came to us with her poor nose nearly missing and several deep lacerations on her little body.  She is only about 16 weeks old.  Who she has been battling with remains to be seen, but who/whatever it was, it was much bigger than she was. She is grossly underweight, so has, obviously, struggled to find food and we pray that we can find her sibling before it is too late. 

Her lacerations had become infected and she was very weak when she first arrived.  But there is good news!  As of two days ago, she had regained enough strength to crawl up into her hammock which hangs from the top of her ICU enclosure!  She had previously been unable to get up off of the floor.  She has been eating well and gaining weight every day. We continue to hope that Santa Paws will help us to find her sibling, but without further funding, we cannot hire someone to go out and assist the landowners in trying to capture it and get them back together.  If you can help, please go to our website or use the link on the side column of this blog, and donate today to help Braelyn get back on her feet and help us to hire one someone to help  put what is left of their family back together. 

Braelyn’s future is still uncertain, but we continue with positive thinking, her undying wild spirit gives us high hopes for her to be released back to the wild sometime mid-summer next year.

However, this special girl will need a lot of expensive intensive care in the weeks and months to come if she is going to make it.

She will be paired up with others of her age once back on her feet.  If her sibling joins us, they will remain together for the rest of their time here at the ranch and be released together back to the wild where they belong and on a property where they will never have to worry about being trapped, hunted or displaced. All our kitties want for christmas is somewhere safe to call home. Will you help them?