Flooding in Arkansas Displaces Bobcats
May 29, 2019
Record flooding on the Arkansas River has destroyed houses and businesses in west central Arkansas. Many humans have lost their livelihood in only a few short days because of heavy rainfall in Arkansas and Oklahoma. But humans are not the only victims of these storms. On May 28th, 2019, at around 1 pm, Turpentine Creek was contacted by a woman who had two pet bobcats given to her after they were rescued from a flooded house.
The two 8-month-old bobcats, Prince and Tony, had been rescued from a flooded home in Lavaca, Arkansas. They were confined to dog crate cages with rising flood waters already reaching their chests. The rescuers pulled the pair of bobcats out of the house in time to save their lives, but not all of the owner’s animals were rescued in time. The owner relinquished the bobcats to a woman in Charleston, Arkansas, who was known to take in small animals in need. The woman had no idea how to care for bobcats, so she reached out to local rescues to find them a home. Multiple rescues pointed her in Turpentine Creek’s direction, so she reached out to us for help.
Turpentine Creek answered the call and packed up to race down to rescue the bobcats. We had to navigate around flooded areas and what should have only been a two-hour trip took over three hours to navigate. Many roads were flooded, and most bridges had been closed down due to severe flooding. Despite this, the team took their time and safely made it to Charleston, Arkansas to pick up our newest animal residents and arrive back at the Refuge at 11 pm.
According to the rescuer, the pair of bocats had been found in the wild in October of last year and were approximately one month old. The individual who found them decided to keep them as pets and had them living in her house. When her husband became sick, they were moved to small crates in the person’s backyard and were allowed to spend some time in a dog run on occasion. Both Tony and Prince show signs of severe muscle atrophy in their hind legs due to this. They were also both reportedly being fed cat food, an improper diet for a bobcat, and also show nutritional deficiencies. Our veterinarian, Dr. Kellyn Sweeley, will be performing a full examination and evaluation of their health over the upcoming days.
Prince and Tony will spend the next few weeks in quarantine down at our vet hospital to prevent the transfer of any diseases. Once they have been cleared of all diseases and infestations, we plan to neuter the pair and attempt to re-introduce them. They will then be placed in a habitat where they can spend their lives enjoying a safe, happy, life at with us the Refuge.
Turpentine Creek was assisted in this emergency rescue by ifaw, who has partnered with the Refuge to pay for rescue and veterinary expenses for the pair of bobcats. With the flooding happening around the country from the severe storm many animals have been displaced. Unlike normal domestic cats and dogs, there are very few places that captive exotic animals can go. With assistance from groups like ifaw, sanctuaries will be able to step up and offer assistance as needed to rescue these victims of the exotic pet trade.
Please donate today to help us care for our newest animal residents. Tony and Prince will need adopters and sponsors to help us care for them for the remainder of their lives. These two young bobcats now have a real chance at life here at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. It is only with your help that we can continue to rescue survivors of the exotic pet trade.