Bobcat caught in Diamond Vale
An injured bobcat captured in a dramatic standoff in the alley behind Douglas Street on Thursday is now recovering at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops.
City of Merritt Bylaw Services Officer Bob Davis first heard about the bobcat from a Diamond Vale man early last week after the man’s daughter spotted the cat around the old Coquihalla Middle School.
But it wasn’t until two fruitless searches of the area and a day later that Davis got a chance to capture the cat. He received a call from RCMP saying they had the bobcat cornered in a back alley early Thursday afternoon.
“I turn in the alleyway and sure enough, there’s the police cruiser and a bunch of people standing around,” Davis said. “Then I see this poor little kitty holding his right paw, and it’s obviously broken right at the wrist. He runs from underneath one car to underneath the police car. We had to get the little fellow running down the alley to run him down and throw a blanket over him.”
Davis said the bobcat started quickly once it was scared out from under the police car, but it soon slowed down because of its injury.
Davis, RCMP Const. Jon Puterbough, and residents of nearby houses managed to wrap the small wildcat up in the blanket.
“As soon as he was in that blanket he was calm,” said Puterbough. “It almost seemed like he was happy to be captured and put some place warm.”
It is not known how the bobcat was injured or how long ago the injury occurred.
“He was quite mobile and didn’t seem to be too bothered by it, but it would’ve killed him eventually because he couldn’t hunt properly,” Puterbough said.
He added that the bobcat, no bigger than a house cat, appears to be quite young and is a good candidate for reintroduction to the wild once recovered from surgery.
“I’m glad we were able to help him,” Puterbough said.
Neither of Merritt’s two Conservation Officers were available to respond to the call because they were on a snowmobile patrol and were out of cellphone range at the time, said South Okanagan COS Sgt. Jim Beck.
Beck said he was aware of the situation, but was unable to attend from Penticton.
He also said the snow loads at higher elevations tend to drive bobcats into valleys in search of food, where they seek small prey such as quails, rabbits and squirrels.
“I’m glad they managed to [capture the bobcat] because they’re beautiful little creatures and they don’t really pose a threat to people,” Beck said. “If you do encounter one, though, give any wild animal its distance. If you encounter one that’s injured, it’s best to contact COS.”