A baby bobcat rescued off an oil rig near Great Bend last spring has become an animal ambassador at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, Calif.
“Whisper” arrived in California from the Great Bend-Brit Spaugh Zoo on May 28. Sharon Clay, curator at the Turtle Bay Zoo, estimated she was only 2-3 weeks old. Now she is about 6 months old and weighs 13 pounds. Clay doesn’t believe the cat will grow much larger than she is now. “We think she is going to stay little.”
Redding veterinarian Nicole Caraway was excited to be working with a baby bobcat. Whisper had some digestive issues when she arrived, and later had some difficulty when it was time to transfer from her baby teeth to her adult teeth, Clay said. But her overall health is good, and the vet described her aa “very sweet and patient.”
Caraway became even more excited once she learned that the bobcat came from Brit Spaugh Zoo, which she used to visit as a young girl with her grandmother, the late Catherine Caraway of Great Bend. Dr. Caraway, a graduate of the veterinarian school at Kansas State University, is the daughter of Alan Caraway, a 1970 graduate of Great Bend High School.
Scott Gregory, director of the Great Bend Zoo, said it isn’t unusual for Wildlife and Parks to bring an injured or rescued wild animal — usually a raptor — to the zoo, which finds the animals new homes if they can’t be released back into the wild. Whenever Turtle Bay posts a photo of Whisper on its Facebook page, the local zoo reposts it to the delight of her local fans.
“We love the bobcat,” Clay said. The staff at Turtle Bay decided to make her an education animal, so she was taught to walk on a leash. She also sits on command and will leap from table to table to demonstrate how bobcats leap.