In the last three years alone, HAWKE has rehabilitated and cared for four bobcats and keeps getting requests from other centers that are unable to deal with them. In 2012 alone, HAWKE was asked to take three other bobcats, two from other rehabilitation centers and one from a zoo. She had already had one orphaned kitten and another adult male bobcat that had been hit by a car. She did not have the enclosure space to take in any more. Ms. Cain-Stage explained, “The other main center that helped with bobcats moved out of state when the owner passed away. Additionally, more and more (wildlife rehabilitation) centers are closing due to lack of funding, so there are fewer centers that can take any animals at all, much less cats like these. One of the main factors causing the increasing number of bobcat injuries seen by HAWKE is the destruction or disruption of their habitat. Because male bobcats establish territories of between 10-25 square miles, new construction or land clearing creates a huge problem for them, forcing them to hunt in smaller territories or challenge other bobcats to establish new ones. As their territories become smaller and smaller, they come in contact with humans more frequently, often being hit by cars.”
In June of 2012, HAWKE received an orphaned Bobcat kitten from a rehabilitation center in South Florida. After caring for it since March ,they had no luck in finding people to take it. Since the kitten (named Cherokee) had been handled by humans from a very young age, it had already lost all of its fear of people and would be dangerous if released. HAWKE accepted this kitten and tried to reverse its behavior to humans with no success . To release a bobcat that would come up to people would not only be a death sentence for Cherokee but a danger to the public. Melanie wants this bobcat to be a “foster parent” for wild bobcats who are brought to HAWKE for rehabilitation. According to Ms. Cain-Stage: “Having a foster parent will allow rehabilitated bobcats to bond to another bobcat, avoiding bonding with people, and be released back into their habitat.” She already has released dozens of river otters raised from cubs , using foster parents. Even though HAWKE has care for many bobcats since Melanie received her first permits in 1980, The state requires her to get a class 2 permit to permanently house a bobcat. The new requirements made in 2009 is why she has to make these changes.
HAWKE is almost finished with the new enclosure that will allow the wild bobcats that are brought to the center to interact with Cherokee, but that required us to ad a new enclosure next to the existing one. Thanks to generous contributions from HAWKE members and the public we have paid for the cement footer and as seen in the above photos . We have the side panels and front put up. The cage was special ordered from a company that makes cages for zoos it is heavy duty strong powdered steel with sliding trap doors and pull out safety feeders . We hope this weekend to get the roof on which will have one clear panel. The floor of the enclosure will have a place for grass . An igloo and platform will be paced for her to sleep in. Enrichment areas, natural wood and other additions will give this cat twice the size in space as required by law. , Ms Cain-Stage explained, “In order to comply with State of Florida requirements, we need to build a much more substantial cage, with an 8 foot fence around it and we’ve got to do it within thirty days. Thanks to the get materials, and cash to help us meet this deadline. Since we do not receive any state or federal support for our rehabilitation center, we need to rely on our neighbors to help us save the wildlife that gets displaced and injured.” We still need about $2,500, 00 to pay for the labor and cost of putting in the 8 foot fence. Any major contributors of $500 Bronze membership and up can have their name or business on a plaque that will be put on the fence. All donations are tax deductible and also can be paid by credit card on this site.. For smaller donations of 25 and up includes membership to HAWKE and invitation to our upcoming open house