While Tropical Storm Alberto threatened the Florida panhandle over Memorial Day weekend 2018, 2 young bobcat kittens were also facing unknown odds. Milton, FL is a small town just west of Eglin Air Force Base. It is here that a 100 acre fire sadly separated the 2 felines from their mother. Due to population increases, the area was being cleared for a housing development.
This all to common occurrence is overtaking the natural habitats of Florida’s native big cats, forcing them to flee.
Fatefully, a bulldozer operator discovered the abandoned kittens under a pile of burnt logs. He contacted a local rescuer, Christine Scott of Raccoon & Wild Mammal Rescue, Inc. She believes that their mother was moving her litter during the burn and unfortunately ran out of time before the flames took over. Searches for the displaced family turned up no other cats however.
Caring for bobcat kittens is not an easy task and Christine wasn’t sure where to begin. She searched online for any advice she could find. That is when she discovered Big Cat Rescue, in Tampa, FL. She contacted BCR on Sunday May 27th who happened to be filming a live video when the phone rang.
Jamie Veronica, President of BCR was not going to let a tropical storm stop her from saving these precious souls! Even if her destination was in the center of the storms path. She set off bright and early the next morning on the 6 ½ hour journey to pick up the kittens.
The brave trio arrived back in Tampa late that same evening safe and sound.
Now begins the long months of helping the siblings thrive and prepare them for release. Staff and volunteers stay as quiet as can be during bottle feeding times for Bravo and Tango.
At only 2-3 weeks old, the kittens need to be fed every 4 hours! BCR explains that staying quiet will “reduce the amount of noise and human contact so they stay good candidates for release.”
The babies will receive full medical treatments and regular checkups to ensure their health stays on track. It will take approximately a year and a half to teach these kittens the important skills to survive in the wild.
Releasing the trained kittens back in to the wild is a task unto itself. They must be released into the county they were rescued from. Fortunately, Christine Scott has a close connection to a local Indian tribe in Santa Rosa county. They will welcome the bobcats onto their land where they can live safely and will not be hunted.
You can follow the story of Bravo and Tango on Big Cat Rescue’s Facebook page here.
Check out their most recent feeding video – Awwww!
The growing cats can also be viewed on the 24 hour live feeds that the organization shares with the world at BigCatCams.com. So CUTE!
Learn more about Big Cat Rescue and their live saving Bobcat rehab program and see how you can help save this beautiful Florida big cat.
~ UPDATE APRIL 2019 ~
It’s been a little less than a year and the two brothers absolutely flourished at Big Cat Rescue. With the love and attention of the staff and volunteers, they’ve grown into gorgeous–safe–bobcats. For the followers of the sanctuary, they have spent the last 11 months watching every moment.
They celebrated Bravo and Tango’s first month on this earth. It is amazing what these scary little bobcats had been through already.
Soon, they were growing–and growling–to everyone’s delight on the 24 hour live rehab bobcat feeds.
The pair were sure to turn up the adorable factor, because really, how could they not?!
But they were sure to remind everyone how wild they REALLY are with their antics. Especially their desire to catch those teasing squirrels who stayed just out of their reach!
As the months flew by, the time approached for the boys to be released back into the wild, where they belong.
On April 9th, 2019, the BCR crew granted their wish, releasing the pair. Appropriate as it’s National Siblings Day on April 10th! As always, it is a whirlwind of emotions for the humans. And as expected, a whirlwind of fur bolting back into the brush.
They were released into an undisclosed location that was just purrfect for the siblings. One of the difficult steps in rehabbing bobcats, is finding these locations. It must be at least 40 acres, have fresh water and plenty of prey.
Laws restricting the release in the county they are found in must be followed. Big Cat Rescue coordinated with the landowners to approve releasing them in the ideal location.
Although they may remain close for the time being, it’s possible the two will wander off now that they are truly free.
There was plenty of everything they would need to survive in the wild, hopefully for many many years to come.
Congratulations to Big Cat Rescue for another successful bobcat rehab and release!!! Never to be forgotten, congrats to Bravo and Tango! You’ve come a LONG way from being found under a burnt pile of logs <3
REMEMBER: BIG CATS DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS; THEY BELONG IN THE WILD!
Related Video: Never Invite BIG Cats to Christmas Parties!