Cleveland Museum of Natural History welcomes bobcat to wildlife center

Published: May. 9, 2023 at 6:18 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - There’s a new resident on the prowl at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History... a 1-year-old northern bobcat named Diego.

Diego arrived at the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden in March thanks to a private donor, CMNH said, and is “adapting well” to his new home.

He was born on March 15, 2022 and weighs 11 pounds, but will grow to 15-30 pounds as he becomes an adult.

“Diego displays many of the typical qualities of a young feline. He is inquisitive, active, and very focused on the Wildlife Specialists who provide his daily care—particularly his meals, which consist of specially formulated feline chow and occasional treats,” CMNH stated.

Diego spent his first 30 days at his new home in a routine quarantine to get accustomed to his new caregivers, diet, and surroundings.

His caregivers also taught him new training practices like shifting between different enclosures on command.

CMNH said, “The Museum’s team of Wildlife Specialists continues to manage this carefully planned acclimation process, ensuring that Diego’s transition is smooth and successful.

As he gets used to his new surroundings, Diego will be introduced to Bitty and Bob, the CMNH’s senior pair of bobcats who have lived at the Perkins Wildlife Center since they were bobkittens back in 2002.

“During visual introductions from separate habitats, Wildlife Specialists have noted positive interactions and interest in one another. The bobcats’ comfort levels and behaviors will dictate how quickly or slowly they progress to physical introductions,” CMNU stated. “Ultimately, the goal is for all three bobcats to share outdoor exhibit space in Perkins, where Museum guests will have the opportunity to see them together every day.

Source: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Bobcats are one of the seven wild cat species found in North America, and are native to Ohio.

While the bobcat population is rebounding in the Buckeye State, it’s rare to spot one in the wild because they are elusive animals typically active at dusk and dawn.

But now CMNH visitors will get to see three bobcats up close.

“We are taking the process slowly and steadily and following Diego’s cues,” says Director of Wildlife Jim Nemet. “Diego is a smart and adaptable youngster with a keen curiosity. Our guests will surely enjoy watching his playfulness as he continues to develop and learn in his new surroundings.”

The Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden is an outdoor space on the Museum’s University Circle campus that can be accessed with general admission tickets.

This center is home to rescued animals that cannot return to the wild, along with wildlife and plants native to Ohio to be a living educational collection.

“The Perkins Wildlife Center is a place where we connect our guests to nature, share stories about the animals in our care, and build a greater appreciation for wildlife conservation in Ohio,” says Nemet. “As invaluable ambassadors for their wild counterparts, Diego, Bitty, and Bob help us inspire a passion for the natural world.”