Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bobcat brings police to Calif. high school

BY RUTH JUSTIS - Staff Reporter - rjustis@ridgecrestca.com
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:32 AM CDT

Burroughs High School had an unexpected visitor Tuesday morning — a female bobcat, which was removed from a tree near the school office by Officer Tina Kimmons of the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter, with the assistance of Dan Sutton, also an animal control officer, and Travis Gillette of the Ridgecrest Police Department.

The call for assistance came into the Animal Shelter at 9:35 a.m. and Kimmons had the animal contained in about an hour.

Vice Principal Bryan Auld was on campus Monday evening and watched a female bobcat, with two cubs, playing on the athletic field. Eventually, they disappeared, he said.

Early Tuesday morning, Principal Ernie Bell observed a bobcat on campus and followed it as it left.

“We think this might be the mother bobcat I observed last night, but we aren’t sure. She certainly was larger than the cubs I saw Monday evening,” Auld said.

Auld watched the mother tree the cubs and leave them for approximately 20 minutes Monday night, while she hunted and caught a rabbit.

“She may have left the cubs while she hunted again this morning,” Auld said. “If she did, we need to locate those cubs so they can be reunited with their mom. We have several outdoorsmen on staff, who will be watching for the cubs and making sure no animals are still on campus. If this was not the mom, we may have a larger bobcat population in the area than we thought.”

Campus supervisors arrive about 6 a.m. to walk the grounds and make sure there were no incidents overnight, and that no animals are on the grounds.

“We want to make sure our students are safe on campus,” Auld said.

Campus security made sure Burroughs students were detoured around the area where the cat was treed as they passed between classes Tuesday morning.

Kimmons was able to get a loop on the end of a pole around the cat’s neck and pull her out of the tree without any visible harm to either herself or the animal. She counts herself fortunate not to have encountered the business end of the cat’s claws.

The bobcat was placed in an animal carrier and taken to the Ridgecrest Animal Shelter, where she remains in isolation.

“We looked her over; she appears to be pretty healthy. We’ll let her calm down a bit, then give her food and water and probably release her back into the desert,” Kimmons said.

Kimmons said the Shelter has gotten several calls of bobcats on the fields at the school at night, but had not seen any herself.

“We’re not sure where they come from — it’s not too far to mountainous areas and open desert. They were probably looking for food or water.”

Animal Control officers captured a couple of cats recently, but both of them were sick. The sick ones are sent to medical rehabilitation before they are released, Kimmons said.

“If you see one, the best course of action is to leave it alone, unless it is posing a threat to children or animals. In that case, give us a call and we’ll try to take care of the problem.

Most wild animals tend to be shy unless they are cornered. Give them space and they’ll generally go on about their business,” Kimmons said.

To reach the Animal Shelter, call 499-5190.

http://www.ridgecrestca.com/articles/2007/ 05/30/news/news02.txt

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