Rescue, Rehab and Release
In 1994, WERC developed its ground-breaking, world-renowned bobcat kitten program to ensure that single bobcat orphans do not become habituated during their time in rehabilitation that is still the standard of care today. The program helps socialize the orphan and reinforces bobcat behavior, such as hunting and stalking techniques while ensuring that when the bobcat is released back to its native habitat, it will steer clear of humans.
The bobcat "mommy" de-odorizes herself by rubbing herbs all over her clothes and hair, gets into a full-body costume that has been scented with bobcat urine, puts on heavy gloves, and places a big, furry bobcat mask on her head. Never uttering any sounds, she walks on all fours, feeding the kitten, cleaning up, and then playing "chase-the-mouse", "attack the twig", and other favorite bobcat games.