The Wildlife Rescue Center (1128 New Ballwin Rd., Ballwin)
is keeping an eye out for a bobcat supposedly seen in the Holly Hills neighborhood of south St. Louis.
CBS St. Louis reported Monday
that the center has been called to Holly Hills three different times to investigate reports of a bobcat in the neighborhood. Whether people actually saw a bobcat, of course, has yet to be verified. Wildlife Rescue Center Executive Director Kim Rutledge says the organization welcomes photo or video confirmation.
In the meantime, the possible sightings are not reason to panic. Reports like these are not unusual for the Wildlife Rescue Center, which typically receives several such phone calls every year, Rutledge tells CBS St. Louis
“Most of the time when someone calls us and says that they have seen either a bobcat, or sometimes people even believe that they’ve seen a mountain lion, at least half the time when they send us a photo it ends up just being a domestic cat,” she says.
Rutledge isn't discounting the possibility of a bobcat sighting, however. And Jim Low, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation, told us in 2012 that the wild cats
have definitely been known to frequent the region. Low says it's "not at all unusual" for a wildlife cam to catch a bobcat prowling around, as he's personally done in his property near Jefferson City. A good samaritan rescued one who was hit by a car near Belleville a few years ago
— and that one ended up having kittens
Low said, "Bobcats are much more common than most people would guess, because they are secretive."
Should you worry? No. The animal is of little threat to humans, although it might mistake small cats, dogs and other pets as competition or prey.
“Anyone who has small pets should be taking their animals out on a leash anyway,” Rutledge told CBS.
Bobcat encounters tend to occur where humans are intruding on the bobcat's territory, Rutledge says.
“They really don’t have a whole lot of choice except to enter populated areas every once in a while. It’s because they have less and less land to do their thing completely unseen," she explains.
See a big cat? The Wildlife Rescue Center can be reached at (636) 394-1880.