Fire cleanup crew rescues bobcat kit

Aug. 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A crew cleaning up after the Chips Fire in the Plumas and Lassen national forests in California rescued a baby bobcat that followed crew members as they left.

Crew superintendent Tad Hair said the homeless female bobcat, about the size of a house kitten, appeared dazed, had trouble seeing and was walking in circles when he and other crew members found it during the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Trying not to disrupt a wild animal in its habitat, crew members assessed the kit and tried to leave, Hair said. But the kit tagged along, snuggling on Hair's boots when they would stop.

The crew took her back to the incident command post, contacted a wildlife care organization and prepared the kit, dubbed Chips, for a trip to the shelter, said Laurie Pearson, a Chips Fire spokeswoman.

Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care shelter veterinarians found Chips had an eye infection and sustained second-degree burns on all four paws. Until the paws heal, Chips will be living the good life, resting on a soft bed and dining on pulverized mice and kitten formula.

Chips will be socialized with other bobcats before being returned to the wild, center officials said.

The Chips Fire burned about 73,000 acres.

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