A small male bobcat later named Tucker was alone and struggling for life on the side of a road in Grand Forks, British Columbia, not far from the US border. Six hours west by car, rescuers at the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley received a call about the orphan on July 7.
Then, a kind volunteer offered to drive the very weak bobcat kitten a little closer so they could meet with rescuers in Osoyoos. Nathan and Brandon, two of the Critter Care staff, would spend the next 15 hours working to save Tucker. First, they loaded up the truck with supplies and set out for a long drive to Osoyoos.
“It was a long 4-hour drive, but if they didn’t act fast, the chances of the bobcat surviving grew slim,” Critter Care wrote on Instagram.
When the rescuers arrived, the mayors of Osoyoos and Rossland were there to greet them.
Tucker Was in Critical Condition
When Nathan and Brandon arrived, Tucker was in critical condition, weighing only 600 grams, or about 1.3 pounds.
“We immediately gave the Bobcat some much needed fluids as he was in critical condition, his energy levels were irregular as he was clearly fighting to stay alive,” they wrote.
Then, the two men stopped several times on the drive back to the wildlife rehabilitation center to care for Tucker.
“When he was given a bottle of formula which he latched on immediately, he was clearly starving! On this day, these two staff members worked over 15 hours straight! Thank you Nathan and Brandon!” the center wrote.
Nursed Back to Health
When Tucker finally arrived at the center, he was in the very best of hands. Founder and Director Gail Martin has experience caring for bobcats, with experience raising thousands of mammals over two decades. However, Tucker’s weakened condition was quite serious.
“It was a bumpy few days to get this little man back to health,” Critter Care said.
Martin and Critter Care President Maureen Binnie named the kitten Tucker. With around-the-clock care, the bobcat made a full recovery.
Rescuers Build a Special Enclosure
Now Tucker would require his own enclosure for life. When the kitten arrived, the center already had 35 enclosures built with species’ specific needs in mind.
Fully imprinted on humans, such big cats generally can’t be reintroduced to the wild again. Thanks to donations, they were able to work fast to build Tucker’s forever home. Then, sponsors would help care for his ongoing needs.
Tucker Grows Fast
In an update, Critter Care showed a playful Tucker adjusting to life in captivity.
“Tucker is thriving and is in stable health. He is eating wild game meat such as rabbit/ deer and bison in bite-sized pieces. It’s hard to believe that this little fella will be able to run speeds of up to 40KM.”
By August, Tucker was much bigger already.
“Tucker the Bobcat is getting big!”
Below, you can see Tucker the Bobcat exploring via Critter Care Wildlife Society:
And, just like your house cat, Tucker loves a cardboard box. But these big cats soon outgrow a house cat and remain wild.
“Our bobcat Tucker loves playing with boxes and paper bags. ‘If I fits, I sits,’ he says.”
By October, Tucker was beginning to look much more mature at 13 pounds but still quite playful. When fully adult, he would be able to take down a fully grown deer. However, the center says that bobcats usually eat rodents, rabbits and birds.
“Our little Tucker is getting so big! He loves to play and hide deep in the straw.”
Below, you can see Tucker’s most recent Instagram picture. As you can see, he’s a charmer but might be a little sneaky.
“Tucker is a little charmer, but don’t let those cute eyes fool you.”
To see more of Tucker, follow the Critter Care Wildlife Society on Instagram and Facebook. If possible, you may become a sponsor or donate to help care for the over a thousand animals they help each year.
Featured images: Screenshots via Facebook/Instagram/Critter Care Wildlife Society