Red Lodge- The Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary has welcomed a new bobcat to its Red Lodge facility.
The bobcat, named Doug, was about three weeks old when it was brought to the Montana WILD Wildlife Center.
Wild cats this young imprint on humans very easily and this kitten was no exception. Since wild cats are unpredictable and have different needs than domestic cats, they make poor pets.
Doug is currently under a mandatory 30-day quarantine, after which he will be introduced to Bob, the other bachelor bobcat at the sanctuary.
Doug can't be released in the wild because he's been imprinted on people.
A lot of specialized care and effort was put in by the Wildlife Center’s staff and volunteers to provide an appropriate diet and enrichment for Doug during the months prior to the transfer. While the Wildlife Center would rather see bobcats out in the wild, this nonreleasable kitten is getting the next best thing: He is joining the other local wildlife at Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary and will help educate visitors about Montana’s wildlife and conservation.
Doug was transferred by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which deemed the bobcat "nonreleasable."
He's the first mammal to be transferred to the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary under a new law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature, which allows wildlife sanctuaries to apply to house nonreleasable animals.
Doug has a long ways to go before he can be seen by the public: He must first be monitored and introduced Bob and his new habitat under strict guidelines.
The first visitors to meet Doug will be Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary members, who will be notified of the members-only event once the schedule is set.
The sanctuary has just gone to winter hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The sanctuary will be closed to the public in January and February except for scheduled education events and tours.