Rowan Wild at Dan Nicholas Park welcomes new bobcats

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 9, 2022

SALISBURY — Dan Nicholas Park has welcomed some new family members to its wildlife park.

Rowan Wild took in a pair of young bobcat siblings in April. The two are spayed and neutered and have been settling in to the enclosure and Rowan Wild is running a naming contest for them right now.

You can vote in the contest online between three iconic sibling names picked by park staff.

Rowan Wild naturalist Megan Cline said the cats are a year old and were captive bred in another facility.

Cline said the cats are out in the open and active enough visitors can expect to see them out and about in their enclosure.

Bobcats are a medium-size feline widespread throughout much of North Carolina and North America. The pair moved into the enclosure for the facility’s last bobcat named Bud. He died in March 2021 due to complications of kidney disease and lived at the park since 2009. Cline said bobcats can live into their teenage years and even reach close to 20 years old.

The staff improved the enclosure while it was vacant. There are new platforms and a bridge that runs across the top.

“You can see them jump on the rocks and run across the bridge,” Cline said, adding they are not afraid of visitors.

The park is working on training exercise with the cats, including a call behavior to get the cats inside the enclosure’s building to work on their enclosure. The park policy is to never have staff inside the enclosure at the same time as the cats and to have two animal keepers working on the exhibit at once because bobcats have the potential to be dangerous.

“It’s safer for the cats and for the keepers,” Cline said.

Bud is one of several losses at the facility in the past year. Three raccoons who shared an enclosure at the facility were euthanized after a rabid wild raccoon broke into their enclosure in October.

A more bittersweet loss was the release its family of four red wolves housed at the facility in March. The family is part of a species survival plan for the critically endangered canines and they were tapped to be released to bolster the wild population.

Cline said the facility plans to bring new animals into those enclosures, but renovations are easier without any residents.

The facility still houses a raccoon named Roxy, who has neurological issues, in a separate enclosure.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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