There’s a New Cat in Town

Danielle Adams, Contributor

The curator of the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown, Sue Sabik, spoke with Warrior Ink about the exciting news going on throughout the zoo. The zoo has received new animals and shipped some of their animals to other zoos in the past few months.

The zoo has recently received a nine-week-old female bobcat kitten. The kitten was found in Tennessee by a woman who brought it into her home because she mistook it for a domesticated cat. Her husband realized that it was a bobcat and brought it to a wildlife rehab center in Tennessee. The Thompson Park Zoo found the bobcat by looking at studbooks, which are books filled with species that have been found and need to be relocated.

The bobcat is not out on exhibit yet, and will not be for awhile because it is too small to be placed with the 21 year old bobcat that is at the zoo. The new bobcat will be used as an education ambassador, which means it will be used in a classroom or assembly setting. She will help teach what the role of bobcats are in the local food chain. The Thompson Park Zoo staff uses such opportunities to promote conservation and reinforce the importance of nature.

The zoo is looking for another exhibit bobcat because the life expectancy of a bobcat in captivity is a little over 20 years and the bobcat that is currently at the zoo is already 21. Zoos acquire new animals by contacting other zoos or they can contact a studbook coordinator. The studbook coordinators are in charge of updating and keeping track of the animals in the studbooks.

Sabik told Warrior Ink that the Thompson Park Zoo staff has also shipped two wolves to Alligator Adventure in Myrtle Beach to promote health in the wolf pack at the zoo. Thompson Park keeps in touch with Alligator Adventure which is how they found out the business was looking for wolves. The wolf pups were getting old enough that the parents could have potentially caused them harm; in the wild, male wolf pups leave at the age of one year and females leave at the age of four–sometimes voluntarily, but sometimes driven away by adults in the pack, as they cannot support a pack that gets larger every year on the same resources. Young wolves will travel then to find their own hunting territory and form new packs.

According to Sabik, “Zoos have a dynamic rhythm that keeps all of the animals safe, healthy, and happy.”