Beloved bobcat passes away at Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo after nearly 19 years

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 8:37 PM CDT
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BYRON, Minn. (KTTC) – Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo on Thursday lost one of their bobcats after almost 19 years in their care. The park brought in the female bobcat when she was about one year old, and naturalists with Oxbow say she lived a good life.

Oxbow still has one other bobcat, a young male they received in 2018. The two bobcats were introduced together in 2019.

“We were nervous to first introduce them. With a young bobcat and an old bobcat, your kind of putting a nursery school with a senior care center. But with our bobcats, we were able to integrate them together and they got along great together. ...They were buddies,” said Clarissa Schrooten, a naturalist with Oxbow.

Schrooten also explained that even though the two bobcats were often seen snuggling, grooming each other, and taking cat naps together, their drive to survive is as wild animals, even in captivity, always remains higher. “They have this understanding that intrinsically they need to fight for themselves and their own lives. ...The companionship, yeah, it’s nice but the drive to survive is so much higher,” she said.

The bobcat that passed away came to Oxbow in 2005 and was born in 2004.

“Losing an animal like that, it’s unfortunate, but it was definitely her time. Her health declined very rapidly these past few days,” said Schrooten.

In the wild, bobcats can live anywhere from 7 to 12 years, but in captivity with healthcare, regular meals, and dietary supplements, their life expectancy is extended.