Buckeye community working together to help injured mother bobcat get care

The bobcat has what appears to be a dryer vent hose stuck around her neck, so residents are trying to catch her and help her.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 8:46 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 9:29 PM MST
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BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A mother bobcat is bringing one Buckeye community together tonight after they realized she needed help. The bobcat has what appears to be a dryer vent hose stuck around her neck. “This mama bobcat when we first noticed her, she had two kittens with her at the time. That’s how she became ‘Mama bobcat,’” said Tammy Bitell, the organizer of the GoFundMe to help Mama.

For many months, Mama has been a favorite at the Sun City festival neighborhood in Buckeye. But recently, people noticed something unusual. “We couldn’t identify what was around her neck. So people started watching her and getting better pictures. And we decided it wasn’t a tracking collar. It wasn’t coming off, it was compressing her and the last photo looked like blood around the hose on her neck. So we decided it was time to take action,” said Bithell.

Bithell says one reason she moved here is to see more wildlife, and many of her neighbors did as well. “We have all kinds of animals, and we want to keep them,” Bithell said.

So they made a GoFundMe. All the donations go towards professional trappers to help Mama because they say the Arizona Game and Fish Department don’t typically handle these types of cases. “It is likely that she will continue to grow then so obviously getting this off of her neck would definitely be preferable,” said April Howard, a biologist specializing in big carnivores at Arizona Game and Fish.

“Almost everything, if it’s hindering her way of life, not being able to eat or breathe the way she should, we just need to get her back to the way she should be,” said Casey Bartalos, a trapper with Fox Wildlife. Bartalos says trapping bobcats can take weeks. But in just a few nights, they got one.

However, it wasn’t Mama. “It can be really difficult, in a perfect world, we’d like to be able to come out and set traps and get her the very first night. This very first guy we had took about three days so that was pretty good. But it can be anywhere from one night to two to three weeks,” said Bartalos.

They use a mix of items to lure the big cats, like oysters, rodents, furs, and bobcat urine and droppings. The one they caught was sent right back into the wild.

The search for Mama continues. “It’s incredible, people here love the wildlife, we are out here for the wildlife,” Bithell said.