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Bobcat recovering after getting hit by a car on Highway 231

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 5:45 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Just after 7 a.m. on Tuesday, a bobcat was hit by a car along Highway 231 near Bertha Jackson Road. Now, the wild cat is recovering after officials said it has a fractured hip and broken leg.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Bay County Sherriff’s Office responded to the scene. The driver also called the Bear Creek Feline Center in Panama City, a sanctuary for wild cats. The center’s director, Jim Broaddus, said this was the first time they have been called out to a situation like this.

“This is obviously a young cat, possibly a yearling. When we arrived they had already removed the cat from underneath a car,” Broaddus said.

Broaddus said the bobcat was transferred over to an experienced big cat veterinarian, Dr. Carla Hubbard DVM. Once the cat recovers, FWC will decide whether it can be released back into the wild or needs rehabilitation.

“Bear Creek Feline Center is set up now as a sanctuary for bobcats, we have five of them here,” Broaddus said.

WJHG asked FWC if bobcats are common in Bay County. They responded:

“Bobcats are widely distributed throughout Florida and are well adapted to suburban neighborhoods, as well as rural areas. Bobcats can help keep rodent and rabbit populations in check. They usually hunt at night for prey such as rabbits, rodents, birds and occasionally deer, but may be out during the day as well. There is not currently data on sightings in the Panama City area.”

If you encounter one, FWC said to make a loud noise to scare it away, without harming the animal.

“Yelling, using an air horn, spraying water, or throwing things towards, but not directly at, a bobcat can often scare them away.”

For more information, head to the FWC website.

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