MORGAN HILL, Calif., May 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (W.E.R.C.) accepted two orphaned bobcat kittens from the San Diego County, where 8-week-old Diego and 10-week-old Beaumont were found and assisted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
W.E.R.C. has a world-renowned bobcat rehabilitation program that accepts kittens from newborns to two months old. The program has successfully rehabilitated and released into the wild more than 40 bobcats since inception. In September 1994 W.E.R.C. became the first wildlife organization in the world to apply birds-of-prey anti-imprinting techniques to bobcats. This technique involves costuming caregivers to simulate mother-infant interaction. The kittens are raised, trained and cared for entirely by "foster" mothers who dressed in full-body fur costume scented with bobcat urine and native herbs and worked in complete silence to prevent any positive association with humans. Subsequent sightings of released animals in the wild by park rangers has validated the success of this program.
W.E.R.C.'s innovative methods, once viewed with skepticism, are now standard protocol in the Central Coast and have been published by the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, as well as featured on CNN and local news media. W.E.R.C. staff and volunteers continue to improve the techniques.
After spending at least a month in a special indoor bobcat "nursery," Diego and Beaumont will transfer to an outdoor enclosure at W.E.R.C. and join older bobcat, Harry, until they are at least 6 months old — the age when wild bobcats begin to attain independence from their mothers and strike out on their own. They will each be returned to an appropriate area near where they were found when they are released to the wild.
At this stage, WERC feels it can rehabilitate both animals and return them to the wild. Neither are old enough to have been permanently "tamed" from their human contact. The key is to ensure that they retain a healthy fear of humans. So far, no bobcats in the program have been deemed "unreleasable," but any that are will be returned to the Department of Fish and Wildlife after the six-month program.
W.E.R.C. is a licensed nonprofit organization using a primarily volunteer staff and surviving on mainly private donations. If you would like to help the organization in any way, please visit www.werc-ca.org.
Video and photos of the bobcats are available. In addition, filming opportunities are available.
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SOURCE Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center