SAFE HAVEN IS HOME TO FIVE PERMANENT-PLACEMENT BOBCATS AND A CANADIAN LYNX.
Phoenix, Bobzee, and Kiki are available for sponsorship in our Adopt-an-Animal program.
Phoenix (left), one of Safe Haven's first permanent-placement residents, was also one of our first rescues of an illegal pet. She was confiscated by The Department of Natural Resources from a woman who had kept her illegally in an apartment in Crystal Lake, IL. Once the woman actually lost her, and Phoenix roamed Crystal Lake for four months.
There was nowhere for her to go for placement except Safe Haven. She arrived distressed, and emaciated from an inappropriate diet of broccoli and canned Friskies cat food. She wasn't spayed, because veterinarians won't work on a wild animal for someone who doesn’t hold proper licensing—so she had been urinating all over the apartment, creating such a bad odor that other tenants were complaining.
Phoenix was declawed and completely conditioned to humans, so releasing her back to the wild wasn’t an option.
In Summer 2009 Safe Haven accepted Bobzee, a 7-year-old spayed female bobcat who was voluntarily surrendered to Safe Haven by a couple who had lovingly cared for her ever since she was a bottle-fed 4-week-old kitten. In recent months Bobzee had begun exhibiting normal wild bobcat behavior and was increasingly difficult to manage. She escaped twice, but fortunately she was microchipped, and her owners were notified of her whereabouts.
Her owners agreed to place her with Safe Haven after they visited our facility and were confident that she would be in good hands. Bobzee was not a candidate for return to the wild. Besides being habituated to and dependent upon humans, she had been declawed and would not be a successful hunter.
We introduced Bobzee to Phoenix in mid-October. Although they remained separate for several days, they exhibited no hostility towards each other. Finally Phoenix ventured out onto the top of her den, casually lay down and crossed her front paws, and began making friendly sounds to Bobzee. (Right: Phoenix and Bobzee relaxing on their shade platform.)
We are grateful for the friendship and support of Bobzee’s former owners, who visit her regularly. They are now happy to see Bobzee express her “wild side.” They even built a new den for her and helped us enlarge the bobcat enclosure.
See Erin Breen's heartfelt and informative feature, "The Trouble with Bobzee," in the November 6, 2011 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal.
In Summer 2011 we accepted our first Canadian lynx, a 6-year-old female named Kiki. She was surrendered by a private owner in Iowa who is too elderly to care for his "collection." He was planning to sell her to a breeder, but thanks to Tammy Thies, director of The Wildcat Sanctuary, he agreed instead to place her with us.
Tammy brought Kiki from Iowa to The Wildcat Sanctuary in Minnesota. Kiki underwent a veterinary check-up, blood work, and spaying before Tammy drove her to Cheyenne, WY. There they met Safe Haven's Dave Sugasa, who completed the caravan to bring Kiki home.
Like other exotic "pets," Kiki would be unable to survive in the wild. Aside from her habituation to humans, her owner had her declawed and her teeth filed. She will receive expert lifelong care at Safe Haven.
PETEY, GIDGET, and MINDY
In November 2012 we welcomed three bobcats that were orphaned in Arizona. The rescue was set in motion when Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center contacted us about a family of five orphaned bobcats that were found by a private citizen. Their rescuer kept them too long, and they became habituated to humans. As a result, they can never live in the wild. Safe Haven accepted a female and two males, and another organization accepted the other two.
The bobcats were named by naming contest winners. Pat Stathis sponsored the male bobcat, now known as Petey. Christopher Johnson and Dr. Tammy Doukas sponsored the two female bobcats—Gidget and Mandy.
See a video of Gidget, Mandy, and Petey here.
Mark Robison has featured their rescue on his blog for the Reno-Gazette Journal.