BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After surgery and lengthy rehabilitation, Wildman is in almost perfect health.
But he’s never going to be able to return to the wild.
It’s been a long road to recovery for this young bobcat. On memorial day weekend last year, he was hit by a truck on Highway 231 and pinned underneath.
Wildlife officials rescued him and turned him over to a local veterinarian.
“Well, he was pretty out of it. He had just been hit by a car. We got him into a cage, and they got him into the back of my car, and I got into my office. We did a cat scan under anesthesia. Found a fracture in his leg,” said veterinarian Dr. Carla Hubbard.
Dr. Hubbard had to use a metal plate to save the fractured leg of the animal instead of pins due to the severity of the injury.
“We had to be very careful because we couldn’t get any of our staff injured. At the same time, we still had to care for him. So, he had to be handled very gently, very carefully,” said Dr. Hubbard.
A year later, Wildman is in good health. He only has a small limp.
But state wildlife officials determined he will never be able to return to the wild.
Once he was healthy enough, Dr. Hubbard released him to the Bear Creek Feline Center, where he will spend the rest of his days.
Right now he lives in this enclosure, that’s only about 12-by-14 feet and needs more room.
“If you can give them a quality of life, then that’s ok. You know, if there’s if they’re just in a cage and they’re not having any quality, that’s not fair to them either. But hopefully, we can get to where, you know, all these guys have tremendous quality. So that’s the most important thing,” said Dr. Hubbard.
So, Bear Creek Feline Center owners Jim and Bertie Broaddus are building Wildman and a new, much larger enclosure.
One that will give him enough room to actually run and jump, and better adjust to life in captivity.
Wildman is between 2-and-4 years old. A bobcat’s lifespan in the wild is about 12 years. In captivity, he should live about 20-to-25 years.
The Broaddus’ has set up a GoFundMe account to raise the $8000 they need.
You can help by donating to the go-fund-me page.