I have an affinity for bobcats which are native to Appalachia. So when a news story ran this week about Ollie, a female bobcat, escaping from the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., I tuned in.
I might have been rooting for the bobcat.
Oh, I know, she’s been in captivity since she was orphaned as a kitten and probably wouldn’t do well on her own.
At any rate, she’s back at the zoo now. News reports simply said she was “found on zoo property.” Hmmm. I’m betting she was still in the enclosure and just didn’t feel like being seen. Bobcats don’t much care to be seen, which is part of what I like about them. They’re subtle.
Allegedly, my first bobcat encounter was at the French Creek Game Farm. Dad was talking with the wildlife officer in charge and I, just a tyke, toddled off into the garage where there were several abandoned bobcat kittens in a cage. I was playing with them through the bars even though the wildlife guy said he had to feed them with gloves. Allegedly.
Dad always has been a storyteller, but it’s a good story, so I’ll keep it.
I’ve seen several bobcats in the wild over the years and once found one in the road, struck and killed by a car, on my way to work. I stopped and moved her. She was utterly perfect–no wounds that I could see. What struck me most were her paws–delicate with soft, pink pads. I would have expected the pads to be calloused, but they weren’t. I carried her well back into the woods, found a declivity, and covered her with sticks and leaves. I would have dug a grave if I’d had tools to do it.
My last bobcat siting was at least five years ago when one camped out under our bird feeder for a half hour or so. My husband and I just sat and watched, took some pictures (photo above), and marveled.
I’m glad Ollie is safe. I have to think maybe she’d just as soon stay where she is. Otherwise, she would have taken advantage of that hole in the mesh netting around her enclosure to find another–quieter–life.
Maybe she just needed a break from all the hubbub. Like we all do now and again.