Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cats and cars

At about 8:30am on Thursday, April 12, 2012, a bobcat was struck and injured by a car on US 301 in Riverview, Florida. One of the drivers who followed alerted 911. "People are trying to catch a bobcat in the median." "A bobcat?" the operator asked. "Yeah, there's a bobcat and everybody's getting out of their cars and they're trying to catch this cat," confirmed the caller. A well-meaning woman decided to try to both catch and calm the animal by throwing a blanket over it, but by doing so sealed both her fate and his. The bobcat bit her, which meant it had to be tested for rabies. It was captured (photo here) by Hillsborough County Animal Services and Marti Ryan explains, "The Florida recommendations and compendium on rabies state very clearly the duty of our veterinarian. Which is in this case to humanely euthanize the animal for testing of the brain matter because we have to ascertain, for the health of the citizen, whether this animal is carrying rabies." The wild cats should not be touched, even when they appear to be orphaned cubs. They may harbor rabies - or the more immediate threat of mama bobcat lurking nearby.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at exactly 8:34am, a Canadian lynx passed before a camera on the Redearth Creek overpass in Banff National Park (2nd image), more than a month after tracks had been spotted nearby (1st image). Trevor Kinley, biologist and road ecologist for Parks Canada, says, “You can’t help but be struck by how beautiful it is. I’ve only had a glimpse of one in the wild, so to capture such a clear image is a rare treat.” Highway Wilding is a project that began in 1996 to keep the number of animal deaths on the Trans-Canada Highway to an absolute minimum. To monitor the effectiveness of the 6 overpasses and 38 underpasses that ensure the safety of the abundant wildlife in the area - including bears, deer, and elk (see blog for more images) - staff review the data from remote motion-sensitive cameras. Tony Clevenger, one of the world’s foremost roadway ecology experts, describes the lynx, “It was like he was posing for us. It’s like he’s floating on top of the snow - it’s really compelling. I’ve been doing this research for more than 15 years, and that’s probably the best image I’ve seen of a lynx."

NOTE: Here is the difference between the lynx and the bobcat.

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