Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Georgia: Bobcat found in north Forsyth

By Julie Arrington
Staff Writer
juliearrington@forsythnews.com
POSTED Feb. 15, 2010 8:30 a.m.

Kim Slep was driving down Freedom Parkway on a recent morning when something furry on the road caught her eye.

She pulled over to discover that the dead feline lying there was no ordinary domestic animal.

“I could tell that it was a bobcat,” she said. “He was beautiful.”

Her ex-husband, Shawn Slep, came to check the animal out and confirmed her suspicions. He dragged it out of the busy north Forsyth road to keep it from being struck again.

After viewing a photograph of the animal, Scott Frazier, a wildlife biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, said it does appear to be a bobcat.

Slep’s discovery, while not unheard of, is unusual for Forsyth County.

Despite being widespread throughout the state, Frazier said bobcats are “rarely encountered as they are one of our most secretive animals.”

“As a predatory mammal they are subject to getting rabies, but they rarely cause any threat or property damage,” he said.

Frazier added that because bobcats are game animals and fur bearers, they are likely to be taken during hunting and trapping season, “although very few people do this.”

The find is the latest in a series of reported encounters this winter with wildlife rarely seen in suburban areas of the county.

A large black bear has been disrupting birdfeeders and garbage cans in an east Forsyth subdivision for the past couple months.

Slep said she doesn’t think the bobcat she found Thursday was an adult. He weighed about 20 pounds.

“I don’t know if his teeth were knocked out or if it was baby teeth that had come out,” she said. “But he wasn’t full grown, that’s for sure. He had big paws.”

Slep said shortly after they got the bobcat off the road, a man pulled up and offered to take it. He planned to have it stuffed and mounted.

Slep said she thinks there could be more bobcats in the area, though she hasn’t seen any.

“It’s a shame that he died,” Slep said. “But he could’ve mauled a little child or killed someone.”

http://www.forsythnews.com/news/article/4470/

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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