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!
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.
Okay, so we haven’t had any articles done on Crosstimbers recently, but I wanted to share some of the great stuff that we do. So, I present one of the many articles written by or about Crosstimbers to share more about what this incredible and unique organization does for the wild ones.
This link is a bio on a bobcat named CaRo that came into WCCR very very sick, and on the verge of death. Quick thinking, and networking with a phenominal group in Hutchins Texas called Rogers Wildlife (Who’s focus is protected birds), saved this little bobkitten’s life. CaRo became a media darling with many fans following his story. Due to his extreme condition when he came in, and immense amount of handling required to save his life, CaRo became deeply imprinted on hunans, who replaced the mother that he had lost, and non-releaseable. I told you, bobcats are capable of forming deep bonds. CaRo’s story is still one of the biggest sucesses in WCCR’s history.
This was CaRo when he first came to us from Rogers Wildlife. Notice the glazed look in his eyes, the wide eyed, baffled facial expression, the hunched over posture, and the mucus build up around his mouth. This is the face of a very sick baby.
This is CaRo at WCCR after some extreme tlc. Bright eyed, mischevious, and alert. Sometimes, this job is seriously awesome.
CaRo now lives his life with another WCCR bobcat named Frankie at CuriOdyssey (formerly the Coyote Point Museum http://www.curiodyssey.org/ ). In captivity, bobcats can live upwards of 30 years! That is 30 years of amazing, enriched, and fulfilled living that CaRo would never have exerienced if his little life had been cut short without the help of a network of caring and wonderful people.
Yesterday, we gave all of the bobcats flea treatments and vaccinations. They were not amused….Nothing like trying to frontline and stick five pissed off 15-30lb razor blades. Not to mention, it does not make for photogenic kitties….
The release program cats are always far easier to catch, vaccinate, and treat. Why, you ask? The long-term bobcats are completely used to being handled, and aren’t easily bluffed. They know what we are up to, and they know exactly how to make it as hard as possible for us to do anything with them. It probably took ten minute per cat for the long terms, and closer to five for the release programs.
We vaccinated everyone except for Giggles (a release program bobcat that came in late last year. She got a special name because she has an odd habit of sticking her tongue out when she growls at you…it is rather adorable), and Olly. Giggles and Olly seem to be suffering from some sort of mild cold, and we do not want to stress their immune systems with a vaccine until they are over their illness. I should stop here and mention that when Giggles came in, she was far smaller, and appeared to be a female (the different sexes seem to have different facial structures, which WCCR is researching). However, recently, after moving her from isolation back into the release program pen, we realized that she did not have girl parts, but boy parts. However, she has been here, and called female for so long, that we all continue to refer to her as “she”.
Once Giggles and Olly are over their colds (that they are being treated for), we are looking at releasing Giggles, and Irving. Hopefully, I will be able to post some good video of the release 🙂
The reason we vaccinate is the high volumes of animals usually on the property. We get bobcats (and other species) from all over the region. They all come in for various reasons, and vaccinations are a good way to stay on top of disease prevention.
All of the staff members at WCCR are highly trained and have tons of experience working with bobcats. These cats may not be huge, but they are extremely powerful, and can inflict a lot of damage for someone not trained to work with them. If you have an issue with a bobcat, while WCCR does not trap bobcats, and prefers that they stay in their natural environment, we do handle cases of confined bobcats. Please feel free to contact us if you do have a bobcat that needs help. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO HANDLE A BOBCAT ON YOUR OWN!
I am really suprised that we haven’t had any new bobcats come in for the past few weeks…by now we should have babies. I guess the late hard freeze has a lot to do with that. Baby season has been really slow this year so far. You can always contact me at email@example.com if you need assistance with a bobcat.
I know you guys are acustomed to photos, so here is one of the bobkittes before they were all mad at us!
Normally, on this site, you will see photos of our long term bobcats in our sanctuary program. This is because bobcats must not become imprinted on humans. Our release program bobcats have as little contact with us as possible.
Trying to balance that with monitoring thier health and behavior can be a challenge. Treating a release program cat can be even more challenging! I wanted to give you a glimps into the life of a member of the most misunderstood species in our region.
This is “Larry”. I mentioned in a previous post that we name our animals alphabetically. We are already on bobcat number 12 for this year. We call this cat scarface…when he growls, it is very asymetrical. He has had some sort of damage to the right side of his face.
Larry has been in our ICU ward for about two weeks now. We have been medicating him in his daily diet. Yesterday, he showed us that he is now well enough to move outside. Here he is in his new enclosure.
His snarl is still crooked, but he should still be ready to return to the wild in a few more days. Once we are sure he is well enough to take care of himself, he will get to be wild again.
The bobcats in our release program are handled very differently from our sanctuary cats. They still get fed daily (some programs incorporate fasting days for release animals. The thinking is that once released, these animals are not guaranteed a daily meal, and therefore, fasting them occasionally will condition them). Our thinking on this subject is feeding them daily not only seems kinder, but it also gives us an opportunity at least once a day to monitor their health.
An animal’s health can deteriorate extremely rapidly if the symptoms are not caught early. One day of illness taking hold can be the difference between life or death in some cases, and we do not risk it.
I only took one photo of Larry. Like I said, we minimize the amount of contact they have with us. I just wanted to share a small glimps of the amazing things going on at WCCR. If we had not been here to take in Larry, the animal control facility that we picked him up from would very likey have had to euthanize him. WCCR gave him his second chance, and he is so close to being wild again!
We have five babies, well I call them that, but they really are quite big now…they were so little when they came in that I still see them as that…tiny little babies; anyway, they have been with us for quite a while now. Today, we moved them to another location.
They all went together, and they are not old enough to be released yet, they just aren’t on the Crosstimbers property at the moment. We caught them, wormed them, and crated them up. The adrenaline rush from catching, HOLDING and vaccinating these wild cats is really quite something. The power in their little bodies is unbelievable!
It was a half hour drive to the new location, and three humans crammed in the front seat of a truck. The bobcats cannot go in the bed of the truck without some serious prep work. We are talking like wrapping each crate in six blankets to make sure they don’t stress from all the wind noise. Strapping down the crates, checking on the cats, etc. It is safer, and less stressful for them to be inside the vehicle. What does that mean? Five angry bobcats in the back seat.
We actually had a really good time. We all get along really well, and we all had a lot to talk about…mainly our immenent goal…getting funding for WCCR.
We have such a good set up, and so much potential. A cutting edge wildlife rehabilitation and education school, a fabulous sanctuary, and a rockin rehabilitation center. We pump out more wildlife than any other location in the region. More than 7000 animals came through our doors last year. More than 90% of them became wild again. Those are some killer stats.
We settled the kittens (When I say kittens, I am talking kittens that are now three times bigger than my four pound chihuahua) into their new “home”, and headed back to the ranch.
Once there, we had just enough time for a little enrichment for the cats (one of our team members brought some giant tennis balls for the long terms. They LOVED them! :3 ). Lenny and Hoover immediately deflated theirs, and Gigi and Bridget demolished theirs as well…Supprisingly enough, Quincy’s was still intact when we left.
Then, dinner time. Today’s entries feature chicken leg quarters, ground beef, and of course, the ever important diet supplements that all of our bobcats need. Gigi and Bridget were STARVING! The bobcats get fed every day, but they go through phases where they are just ravious, and consume ALL of the diet we bring them. Other days, they don’t touch any of it. A full carnivore is a happy carnivore though. So, even if they aren’ t particularly thrilled by food for a couple of days, they still get the same amount every day. Quincy couldn’t have cared less about food today. He just wanted us to kick the ball around for him to chase…very cute. The ball is almost as big as he is right now.
It’s so odd preparing diet for so few cats…we are down to 11 at the moment. Of course, new ones keep coming in though. One new one only stayed for a day before being relocated, another new one just came in, and we are in the process of assessing him. The parade never stops. There are just too many bobcats that need help, and not enough rehabilitators with the expierience, know how, desire, or capacity to handle them. That’s just fine with us. As long as we can stay here, they will always have a safe place to go.
I didn’t go out to the ranch Sunday or Monday, but I made a point to go out there today. We recieved a donation of venison a couple of days ago, and incoroprated it into their diets today. I cut it into small pieces, and gave each cat a couple along with their scheduled diet of chicken. Our bobcats are on a scheduled diet plan to not only ensure they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need, but to provide them with variety from day to day.
Some of the cats LOVED the venison and wouldn’t touch the chicken. Others tried the venison, but went back to the chicken that they are more familiar with. It was very interesting to see some of the bobcats’ reactions to the “new” diet.
I for one like the venison. The venison seems to more readily accept the suplements that we add to their diet. We currently have two bobcats that are under treatment, and the venison even seems to hold the medication better than the beef or chicken. I guess it is spongier or something.
Some of you may know that I have opened a cause on facebook. This is a small attempt at getting some despirately needed funding for WCCR. So far, the amazing people on facebook have made our numbers grow to 62 supporters, and we have raised $55.00. I would love to see this growth continue. We truely need some serious money.
I have a dear friend who I have known for a long time. We have been meaning to get together for a while. We haven’t seen eachother in forever. Today, we went to lunch. It was really nice to catch up, and I hope we get to hang out again very soon.
As we left, he gave me some venison for the bobcats, and a donation of money. Just spending time with him made my day. I drove home, and put the venison in the freezer until I can get it to the ranch, and got an envelop for the bills…and realized how much he had donated.
He is the most amazing person. He knows everything, and there is nothing he can’t do. Thank you Gerald. Your support means so much to me. One of these days you are going to have to let me take YOU out to dinner…it’s the very least I can do after all of the things you have done for me.
The weather was so awesome today that even when I showed up at work, and realized that I had a holiday today, I didn’t care. I drove the whole way in my convertible (perfect weather for it!!!), and when I realized I didn’t have to stay at work (my real job), I drove out to Terrell, and spent several hours at the ranch.
I have been fortunate enough to have spent the last three days out there. I spent plenty of time with the longterm bobcats. We end up with these cats through various means including confiscations, and people who want to try their hand at rehabilitation with no experience or understanding of the complexity of rehabiliating a bobcat. Often, these cats are completely ruined for release. They never wild up, and therefore end up in a less than ideal situation for them.
These cats are my teachers. Everything I know about bobcats and their behavior is through observation and enteraction with our cats, especially the longterms. As a graduate of the WREN program, and through many hours spent with my mentor, I have been trained and provided with the knowledge to be around these cats.
There is nothing better in the world than learning about something you love. Hours can pass without my notice when I am working down there. My facination with their behaviors and reactions to certain stimulus makes my time with them fly. The secrets these cats share with me are ones that I will cherish always.
These three days rank up there with the best days ever.
I wish I had the means to save this place by myself. Alas, I do not. If you would like to assist WCCR in keeping it’s doors open, please click on the link above.
The North American Bobcat is quite the elusive animal. These wildcats are wide spread across the entire state of Texas, and most of the USA, southern parts of Canada, and a good portion of Mexico, but most people have never seen one outside of the internet or their local zoo.
They are adapting well to urban life. Everything they need is easily accessible in the human world, and with their ever shrinking natural habitat, I suppose at some point, I was bound to see one in “the wild”. Though I am extremely fortunate to be able to work so closely with the bobcat on a regular basis, I have never, to this point, seen one in it’s natural element.
Today was the day. Driving down the acess road of Loop 12 in Dallas (where I work), I saw a cat sitting at the very top point of a small hill near the road. Behind the clearing was plenty of dense shrubbery. As we got closer, I realized that what I was looking at was WAY too big to be your run of the mill house cat…and as I passed, I recognized a figure that I am all too familiar with…Those big, ruffed cheeks and tufted ears that I spend time with every week at WCCR.
It was an exceedingly well marked cat, well defined rosette patterning all over it’s body, a creamy white chest with bold black spots, and huge, fluffy cheeks. This bobcat appeared a bit smaller than the cats we currently have on property at WCCR, but definately healthy, and in good shape. Just sitting at the crest of the hill, watching the cars go by…bright eyed, enjoying the freezing cold weather I guess.
At least in this modern world of the viral, out of control, all consuming, species distroying population explosion that is homo sapien sapien, some other life forms are doing okay…
For the past several days, our fearless leader has been out of state. That has left the dedicated volunteers and supporters of WCCR to hold the fort while she is gone. With 20 bobcats, two raccoons, three wood turtles, a terarium full of water dragons, a ring tailed cat, a cuban night anole, two sulcatas, and a russian gopher tortoise, not forgetting the domestic animals (ten or so barn cats that have ended up here as dumps, new baby chicks, three dogs, and scores of chickens and peacocks, it makes for a lot of things that need to be done every day while she is gone. I mean, all of these animals have to eat! I have been staying at the ranch for the durration of her absence (thank goodness she didn’t have to leave us durring the high season!).
I have been taking advantage of the amount of time I have been able to spend out here, and spending as much time as I can with the bobcats, observing their behavior and interactions. Lenny (one of our long terms-long terms end up with us through confiscations or special circumstances that require an extended stay) has been in a fabulous mood lately. He just got a new room mate (Hoover), and really seems to adore him. They spend most of their time playing like kittens. It is awesome to see two 30 pound cats rolling around on the ground and boxing eachother’s ears…
along with some enrichment activities on my part, it has made for some amazing photo opps. Anise extract and peacock feathers were decidedly favorite enrichment items.
That peacock feather was decimated when I removed it from the enclosure. Notice the cut on Hoover’s armpit? I would have had no idea that was there if I hadn’t been doing enrichment work with them (and trying to get some great photos!). It was a more interactive enrichment than the anise extract, which I placed in interesting areas in their enclosure with a cotton swab. The pictures from that are pretty neat too…this is one of my favorite photos.
The anise extract had both cats rubbing their heads on everything I put that scent on. It was a really neat thing to watch. This photo is now one of the background photos on my phone 🙂 I know…Im a dork. But who gets the opportunity to work in any sort of proximity to such a cool and amazing animal?
I mean, who couldn’t love this face…er, tummy?
Through a persistant and lifelong interest in nature and in animals, I have happened uppon the opportunity to not only work in close proximity with one of Texas’ most amazing predators, but to actually touch, hold, and interact with some of these awesome cats through work with the Wildlife Center at Cross Timbers Ranch in Terrell Texas.
Don’t get me wrong. Our ultimate goal is to re-introduce these cats back into nature. We take them in, we protect and heal them, and then we release them in a location where it is ideal for them to thrive. Unfortunately, not all of our cats make it to the point where they are ready for release. Some of them will never know what it means to be truely wild. These are the ones that make me pause in awe, and draw my breath before I enter their enclosure. Many of these animals find homes at educational facilities but some of them stay with us.
At WCCR, we don’t believe in barrier policies for our cats. With no barriers, these cats who thrive on social interaction and personal bonds gleen what they need from their relationships with us in a frustration free environment. These animals are never forced to behave in a manor in which they choose not to. They completely guide their interactions with us.
If a purring Quincy chooses to climb on my shoulder, and rub his face in my hair and steal my ponytail holder, I let him. If he chooses to completely ignore me, I let him. If he doesn’t want to interact with me, I don’t force him. Though he may end up remaining in a captive environment, we strive to never take the wild out of the cat, and to never make him do anything against his nature.
Each day, diet is hauled from the freezer to thaw in the food prep area. Each enclosure is cleaned, old food removed and thrown away. Fresh diet is prepared and fortified for each cat.
Currently, we have 19 cats on the property. The releasable ones that are left from 2010 are overwintering at the ranch. when they are ready later this year, they too will be released like the many bobcats before them.
WCCR intakes and releases the greatest number of cats in Texas, and possibly in the nation.
What does it take to care for so many? Well, an awful lot of food, and of course, what we all need to keep running. Money. We go through pounds of food every day. Unfortuately, feeding bobcats isn’t cheap. they eat the expensive stuff. Meat. Much of our diet comes from donations. We always need donations. As a not for profit organization, we can not only accept donations, but offer receipts for tax deductions, but sometimes that isn’t helpful if people don’t know you are out there.
Hopefully in the near future, more and more people will know we are out there, and they will see the amazing things that happen in this place. There are many amazing projects in the works at WCCR, and I, and others like me are glad for the opportunity to be a part of it. Many of us have graduated from a pioneer program named the WREN project. The goal of this project is to make steps toward the standardization of wildlife rehabilitation.
The amount of knowleged that we don’t have is amazing when you are faced with the amount of information that isn’t out there. Especially when it comes to predators. People love to see little bunnies, squirrels, and deer. They love to hear their stories, and tales of how people have saved them. The nitch that predators fill instills fear in people. It causes us to avoid them, and we become oblivious to the role they play in our world, and make up wild, fear filled stories of what they may do to us if we come face to face with them. Through programs like the WREN project, not only do we learn how to help attempt to counteract the completely un-natural environment in which many animals find injury, but we finds in us the ability to pass on REAL knowlege. Knowledge that seems to become lost in our ever shrinking, ever more technology fueled world.
If anybody out there is reading this, and feels the desire to help, or would just like to know more about what we do, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. That is my e-mail address through this phenominal organization.