PAWS Wild Again
June 2008 

Kevin Mack

Two for the Road
by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist

The beginning of June was an exciting time at the PAWS Wildlife Center as we bid farewell to a pair of very special patients. The first was a young Bobcat that had been in our care since September of 2007. She had been found on August 14, alongside a highway near the town of Alger, WA. Her mother's body lay nearby, the life knocked out of her by a passing car. The orphaned Bobcat was first cared for by the Northwest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center before being transferred to PAWS on September 5. A mere kitten on arrival, the Bobcat spent the following 9 months growing into a strong, healthy sub-adult. She was released on June 5 in the Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest. Her release was a blur. She shot off into the woods like a rocket and disappeared into a hollow beneath a downed tree. I have no photos of the release to share, but the following three images were taken just before the Bobcat was placed in a transport carrier on release day.


At around 25 pounds, the Bobcat was an impressive sight on the day of her release.

Suitably fearful of humans, the Bobcat backed into the corner and assumed a defense posture when we entered her cage to capture her.

The Bobcat was released in a remote area of Mt. Baker - Snoqualmie National Forest, far away from cars and other human-created dangers.

Less than a week after the Bobcat returned to the wild, a sub-adult Black Bear that had been treated by PAWS regained his freedom near Mt. Rainier. The bear arrived at PAWS on April 25th. Due to high snow cover in the mountains, many bears have been wandering into the lowlands this spring in search of food. This bear had wandered a bit too far for human comfort as he was found in the middle of Renton, WA. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was in the process of capturing the bear to relocate him when he fell from a tall tree. His right leg was fractured at the hip joint during the fall.

In order to repair the bear's injury, surgery was required. The surgery took place on May 5. The Woodland Park Zoo graciously allowed use of their surgical suite and veterinarians from the Animal Surgical Clinic of Seattle volunteered their time to perform the procedure. The surgery went well, and six weeks later the bear was ready for release. The following photos show his return to the wild.


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife agent Bruce Richards brought the bear to us after he was injured and helped with the bear's release. Here, Bruce opens the door on the transport container to set the bear free.

The bear did not wait long to exit the container. He paused briefly at the door...

...and then jumped down to the ground.

Although it will still be some time before the bear's leg has fully recovered its strength and range of motion, this did not appear to slow him down during his release. He was a blur of motion as he ran from the release container to the woods nearby.

The bear was last seen disappearing up a tree-covered slope. He was equipped with an ear tag radio transmitter prior to his release that will make it possible to track his movements in the future.

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