WASHINGTON — A bobcat’s wild journey was called a “Thanksgiving Miracle” after she was hit by a car in Virginia and traveled over an hour while stuck in a car’s grille. Since then, she has been recuperating at a wildlife hospital.
Now Dr. Ernesto Dominguez, hospital director for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, said, “She was lucky enough to be found alive and brought to us, and she is ready to be released.”
He said the bobcat had a hard time eating due to a fractured jaw — one of many injuries she sustained from the accident.
They initially treated her with soft food for almost of month as wells as pain medication.
“[Then] we started switching to small prey like small mice,” Dominguez said.
Three weeks ago, doctors realized the jaw was completely healed. Since then, he said, “We started offering the whole prey and then live prey.”
Her diet consists of whole rats, chicks and chicken, some of which she can now successfully hunt in the enclosure she is housed in.
“Because we’re seeing that she is completely healed of her mandible fracture and she is hunting well and eating well and gaining weight, we are planning to release her the first week of March after hunting season, so she can have a successful release and not be bothered by the hunters,” Dominguez said.
The bobcat’s journey to recovery started on Thanksgiving morning. After being hit by a car in Gloucester County, Virginia, and getting lodged in the car’s grill, she was taken on a 50-mile ride to Richmond.
The Wildlife Center of Virginia is working with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to coordinate her release into a nature preserve.
While there are no plans to put a tracking device on the bobcat, Dominguez said VDGIF will be putting some cameras out in the nature preserve to monitor her.
Dr. Dominquez said because she is an adult she should not have a problem going back into the wild.
“With us, she is really aggressive,” Dominguez said. “She still is having those wild instincts and behaviors, so she’ll be doing completely fine out there.”