Three little bobcat kittens were discovered in a tree next to the Dyess AFB Hospital in mid-August (one of them is pictured above). This story has its beginnings in the spring of 2005 when a bobcat who apparently had no natural fear of humans gave birth to two kittens in the hospital’s courtyard, out in the open, on the sidewalk. The mother was sedated and she and her kittens were relocated about three miles away in a secluded area on base. When the kittens were old enough to travel the mother brought them back to live in a hollow area under the foundation of the entrance to the pharmacy. Mothballs were used to discourage the cats; they left; and the entrance was plugged. They did not return.
This year, 2006, this same female gave birth to three kittens under a storage shed at the Outdoor Recreation Compound. When the kittens were old enough to leave the den, she took them to her old familiar den near the hospital. Apparently the kittens got spooked having never been that close to humans and went up the tree. The mother was not disturbed by the people but when a crowd gathered, she withdrew. Not wanting the kittens to loose their natural fear of humans, the decision was made to capture the young, put them in a cage to entice their mother’s return, capture her and then relocate all to the wild far from base.
Pictures of the kittens, those involved in their capture, and how the rest of the story unfolds can be viewed here. While this story is exciting, it also didn’t have to happen. Because someone had probably fed the mother at some point in her life, she lost her natural fear of humans and her unnatural behavior put her kittens and herself at risk of loosing their lives. Now, who behaved badly?