The Wildlife Center at Crosstimbers Ranch has received a very special guest that urgently needs your help. His name is Ulyses, and he is only ten weeks old. He has been separated from his mother and siblings, and the poor little guy has suffered some serious trauma in his short life.
Ulyses is a bobcat, and he already has a special place in the hearts of all of the staff members here at WCCR. You see, at this tender age, he has had a little altercation with a dog…that resulted in a compound fracture of his leg, and massive infection. This poor little wild one is terrified and alone, and he can’t even yet have a buddy to comfort him. For now, until his condition improves a bit, his stuffed animal is his closest companion.
The thought of this poor little guy terrified and hurting tugs at my heartstrings every time. Especially when all we can do is sit back, and support him on his journey 😦
Here at Crosstimbers, we do 90% of our medical treatment on site.
There are many reasons for this that I may go into in some future blog, but for right now, my main focus is to help this little one return to the wild. But in order to do that, I am going to have to solicit some help! To rehab a single (healthy) bobcat from kitten to release, costs more than $2,000 and over 12 months in feeding and maintenance alone. Any medical treatment or other operational care all comes at additional expense.
For Ulyses, the cost will probably be more than double that figure.
His tiny leg will be set in his heart emblazoned cast for at least the next six weeks, and he will need some heavy-duty antibiotics (as well as other medications) to battle the massive infection.
Supportive care will also include a special immune system supporting diet and eventually, physical therapy.
Little Ulyses had to be sedated for this procedure, so once his cast was secured, he was placed in isolation to recover from anaesthesia.
His ongoing care, rehabilitation, and physical therapy are going to be major hurdles for WCCR this year. The economy has put a squeeze on us all, and we are definitely feeling it. We are trying to raise $500 towards his ongoing care, and every cent helps.
If every person who read this blog donated just ten dollars, that total sum would mean a massive step towards going back to the wild for this amazing cat! Every bit helps! If you want to be a wildlife hero, click on that donate button on the right hand column! I know we can do this. Lets get Ulyses back to the wild, together!
For the third time this week, WCCR’s sub-permitees have received fresh shipments of orphan raccoons. The first pair was a male and female, their eyes just opened. The second set is five two-week old raccoons. One girl, and four boys. The large litter was separated into two groups. Bella and Carlos were kept together, and the other three stayed together, and went to another sub.
Baby raccoons all look incredibly similar, so separating them not only makes it easier to tell which of the crew has already been fed, but it helps with monitoring their health. At this age, the risk of aspiration (when they suckle so vigorously that they inadvertently inhale some formula) is very high, and immediate action must be taken, or one risks loosing the baby very quickly. So, separating the large litter into two smaller groups (while still ensuring the babies have a buddy) works out beautifully.
The day after these five came in, four toddlers also came in. That is eleven babies that I have picked up in the course of one week! The odd thing is, this is really the only species we are seeing at the moment. That is bound to change quickly, but I am still waiting for the bobkittens to show up! We haven’t had any since the end of last year!
But this is just the beginning…there will be a LOT more babies coming in very soon!
I cover her head with a blanket while I am doing this just to help her feel more secure and calm. Most of the time she just sits and lets me do my thing. Tonight, she actually reacted to the fluids being administered for the first time. This is a good sign. It means she is feeling much better.
After, she poked her head out of the blanket to inspect my work. Her body condition has improved dramatically over the past few days. The points of her hips and spine are far less defined than they were three days ago, and her ribs now have an almost normal pad of flesh over them. Her apetite is really good. She eats every scrap of food I put infront of her, and I have been filling the bowl.
Tonight is more soaked dog food, fresh greens, a raw egg, some grapes, and carrot pieces. I expect the bowl will be empty by morning. I am glad she is eatting so well. She needs all the nutrition she can get.
I still plan on worming her this weekend and then maybe it will be time for her to be wild again. She is almost ready!
I finally really got my hands on Abigale. I have started her on sub-q fluids. I have given her a couple of days to destress and aclimate to her surroundings before really doing anything with her. I looked her over thoroughly today. She doesn’t have any major injuries, but she is VERY thin. I can feel the points of her hips, and her spine. She has been eatting very well the past couple of days, so I am a bit suprised that she is that thin, but the way she is acting, I am not completely suprised by it. Her belly is also rather firm, indicating a heavy internal parasite load. I will be going to the ranch again this weekend, and I will see about worming her then.
I brought her inside to administer fluids. You can see the bulge on her side where I gave them to her. Sorry I could not take a picture of the process, but I didn’t have enough hands!
Tonight, dinner is soaked dog food, to ensure she is getting plenty of protien, a raw egg, blueberries, banana pieces, and a few mealworms.
There is also some liquid vitamins in the mix. Looks delicious, no? She isn’t too happy with me for the fluids, but she will thank me later. They will help her feel better. Once she is back up to a good body weight, and acting normal, I will make her wild again.
Maybe not as glamerous as rehabilitating a bobcat, but for Abigale, I made a difference; even if she won’t appreciate it 🙂
I was doing some research on my own, just to see what kind of information I could find out there on bobcats…the problem is, there really isn’t any consistant information. One site I came across (a .edu site, no less) even stated that baby bobcats have a well defined rosette pattern to their coat, but as they grow, their spots become less defined. this is NOT TRUE! Quincy is a great example of that. Here is a close up of his side, just to show you what I mean. He does not have well defined rosettes on his coat, nor will he develop them as he ages. Instead, for the most part, he has this freckled, mottled coat pattern.
Whatever coat pattern bobcats are born with, they keep through adulthood. Quincy will always have a freckled coat, and always has. You can see a few little rosettes towards his belly.
On the same token, we have several adult bobcats who DO have well defined rosette pattern to their coats.
You can see the difference in the clouded pattern of Hoover’s coat verses the freckled look of Quincy’s. Hoover’s brother Kirby, on the other hand, did not have rosettes. He had almost no spots at all.
A few of the goals at WCCR is to replace mis-information like this with good, solid, accurate information, and to augment the minimal knowledge that is available out there on this species.
I talked to our director a couple of days ago about where our center is heading. I truely am worried that we won’t be able to do enough to save this place. The health issues that our benifactors are experiencing have prooven that they can no longer continue in their current capacity at WCCR. I have sent out a couple of sponsorship requests, and started a few others. There is just too much information I need to put in these requests that is not readily available to me. I need someone to get the information, and put it in a packet for me because I do not have access to it myself. Problem is, none of this has been done.
It frustrates me to no end that we have so much going for us, and yet, we are struggling so hard. I am dying to hear good things back from the sponsorship requests that I have sent, but I know, and I keep telling myself that, there is a very real possiblity that the one or two requests I sent out will not render the results I am looking for. I am frustrated that until we pull together all of the things we need, I really don’t have any other places I can request funding from.
It is unfortunate that this was sprung on us so suddenly. Honestly, I would feel so much better about this if we had more time.
We are down to just 11 bobcats on the property, still a HUGE number for any other rehabilitation facility…for us, that is a tiny number. For WCCR, 7,000 animals is an average year. What is going to happen to all of the wildlife that would have come here if we close our doors? I am especially worried about the bobcats. There are NO other facilites that can handle the numbers of bobcats that we do. There are barely any facilities that can handle one or two bobcats a year, and even fewer that have the experience to rehab them.
I look at established centers like the Heard Museum, and look at their sponsorship page…it is HUGE! I am struggling just to find sponsorship programs…and submitting them is an entirely different animal. I am not a grant writer. I am just a supporter of WCCR, and who like the other members of our keystone group despirately wants to see this center get off the ground.
In two years, our accomplishments have been phenominal. The numbers of animals that have come through our doors more than highlights the necessity of this rehabilitation center in this area; It demands WCCR exhist.
For the past two years, we have been right on schedual with our growth and development plan that had already been layed out. We are entering year three of our development plan. The beginning of construction of our planned state of the art facility and clinic, and housing for interns and students of the WREN project.
Everything we need is already in place. The diet we feed takes care if it’s self, for the most part the materials we need take care of themselves, and honestly, it is a fairly self sustaining facility. Our key issue is not stuff so much, we just really need funding to cover our opperating costs at the moment. Our plan is to eventually bring in enough sponsors and grants to expand further, but our immenent need is opperating costs.
I hope it’s just for today that I feel so uncertain. I hope that I hear good things back from my efforts…