Aug 19, 2017

Tame bobcat found in Hollister



For about 6 weeks, our San Benito County branch has been receiving calls about a bobcat wandering through yards in the quiet community of Ridgemark. Deanna Barth, who heads up the wildlife rescue efforts in Hollister, said the reports started coming on June 25th.

Reports ranged from mere observations to stories of it drinking water from someone's pool. These sightings didn’t seem out of the ordinary. Deanna responded by educating the reporting parties on methods of hazing to scare the wild cat off - which works on truly wild animals. But, then the reports started to get a little peculiar. 

One person reported the cat entered their home through an open sliding glass door while they were showering. They were understandably surprised to see it sitting in their bedroom. Another party described it following them and at one point “leg-rubbing”, as cats will do - but not wild bobcats.

Once we received reports of the bobcat acting as if it were imprinted or tame, we organized a capture effort. It was as much for the cat’s safety as it was for the residents. Most of the reporting parties were unsettled by their encounter with the feline - it was only a matter of time before something bad happened.

Last night Deanna Barth headed up rescue efforts. She was joined by the groups founder, Rebecca Dmytryk.

After canvassing the area off Sonny's Lane, where the cat was most often encountered, they walked the south service road. 

Just after sunset, they spotted the bobcat in the adjacent field, peeking out of the tall grass. 

Then they did something these wildlife capture experts never do when pursuing injured or ill bobcats - they started calling “Kitty, kitty, kitty!”. 

Sure enough, the bobcat responded. Deanna instinctively walked away, leading it into one of the open backyards it frequented. 

The cat bounded into the yard, and then out the side yard to the street where the rescue vehicle was parked.

Dmytryk was there with options of treats to test the cat - to see what they might use to lure it into a carrier.


The cat responded by approaching and sniffing the offerings, but quickly became disinterested. It walked off toward the golf course. Deanna trailed it.

Finally, on a walking path, Deanna used a cat toy on a string to get the cat's attention focused while Dmytryk stood in wait with a large hoop net. The capture and containment went smoothly. 



The cat will be observed for a few days while possible permanent placement in a sanctuary is found. While it appears to be a bobcat, there are some features - the eyes and coat that aren't quite right. WES will be looking into a DNA test.

In the meantime, the group is seeking information on the cat’s history, when and where it was first observed by residents. They are hoping to find where it came from. Anyone with information or who had an encounter with the email the detail to admin@wildlifeservices.org.




Aug 12, 2017

Help Protect Wildlife From Rat Traps - sign the petition!





Sign the petition now, HERE.

This week we had 5 calls from the Santa Cruz County area about skunks caught in rat traps.

Over the years we've seen an increase in the number of incidents involving larger animals caught in the newer rat traps - the ones with serrated jaws. HERE is news coverage from couple of years ago.





These traps are especially dangerous because the interlocking teeth make "escape virtually impossible" for rodents, as well as larger animals. 
While snap traps are not meant to be placed outdoors, unprotected, where they pose a serious risk to other animals, the labeling and directions on use are not clear enough. We're hoping to change that.
Back in 2014, WES reached out to Bell Laboratories, the manufacturer of the brand of traps we were finding. We asked them to consider adding warning labels to help reduce the number of non-target wildlife injuries. They said they'd look into it.
That same year, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company acquired Tomcat, the consumer brand of rodent traps manufactured by Bell Laboratories.
Time went by and more and more animals were injured by these spring-loaded traps, including wild birds, and deer!
In March 2016, WES contacted Bell Laboratories again, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, asking them to add a distinct warning label to packaging and include safety precautions specific to wildlife, pets and children in marketing sell sheets, instructions, and in training material for industry professionals.
Bell Laboratories made changes to their products' web page and sell sheet, clarifying non-target exposure and how it can be prevented. See the changes, HERE

While we appreciate the steps taken by Bell Laboratories, we'd like to see them help protect pets and wildlife by doing more.
Join us in asking Bell Laboratories and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, leading manufacturers of these types of rat traps, to add warning labels and precautionary statements to product packaging, instructions on use and promotional material, including videos, and require distributors to also display warnings on outdoor use where these products are sold - in stores and online.
Please sign the petition and share:

Thank you!


Aug 11, 2017

Baby raccoon in a storm drain - with mom


We responded to a call last night about a baby raccoon in a storm drain near Cabrillo College. The reporting party said they'd heard it earlier, that morning. They also indicated there might have been two babies, at one point.

We arrived on scene at about 9:30 pm. We could see a young "teenage" raccoon looking up from one of the drain pipes - very vocal, crying for mom... and then all of a sudden the mother popped up from the other side and growled a warning. 

Check out the video.




Raccoons tend to have multiple den sites and will often move their young from one site to another if they feel their young are in danger. 

For more on the fascinating raccoon, watch Raccoon Nation. Find the full Nature episode, HERE.