By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Big Cat Rescue
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ellie Winstanley
Editor: Sonia Estal, Marcus Cooper
Fearing that he was too badly injured to be saved, local police advocated putting the bobcat down.
But after calling Big Cat Rescue (BCR), who were rushing to the scene, they agreed to wait for the arrival of the rescue team
BCR staff member Jamie Veronica received the emergency call at 1:15am from a good samaritan who had seen the hurt bobcat, but she was initially unconvinced that he was a bobcat.
She said: “The area he was in was like a concrete jungle, like right behind the mall - there’s no woods in sight.
“The best territory for him would probably have been between two palm trees on some mulch.
“There was nothing that looked like a bobcat should be living there.”
Grabbing nets, gloves and a large carrier from BCR’s emergency response centre, Jamie rushed to the scene to find that the police had cordoned off the area to ensure no one ran over the injured cat.
Founder of BCR Carole Baskin said: “I’ve never seen the police be so concerned about an injured animal before and it made me grateful beyond belief.
“In the centre of all the chaos, I could see him and he looked huge. He was in pain so was all puffed up and the lights from the cars highlighted a halo in his fur tips that made him seem enormous.”
Prowling up behind him, Jamie managed to capture the injured cat with a net just as he made one last attempt to run back to his concrete jungle.
The team rushed Thor the bobcat to Big Cat Rescue where he was taken to the sanctuary’s on-site Windsong Memorial Hospital.
At the hospital he was diagnosed with a crushed eye socket, fractured jaw, broken shoulder blade and a snapped canine tooth
BCR volunteer vet Justin Boorstein stabilised Thor in preparation for surgery on his jaw.
Without the necessary bone plates, screws and drill to fix Thor’s jaw, BCR took the bobcat to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay where Dr Boorstein was able to fix his jaw.
After delicate surgery on his jaw, eye socket and canine tooth, Thor was placed in a small cage to prevent him from further injuring himself.
Doctors were unable to save the sight in his left eye, but they did fix his jaw, eye socket and, most importantly, his canine tooth - which was key to his ability to hunt in the wild again.
As his jaw healed, Thor was fed chopped up meat before slowly being reintroduced to hunting for himself with quail.
Following several months of successful rehabilitation, Thor was released in Hillsborough County, Florida, the county he had been rescued in.
The anxious bobcat took some convincing though and refused to leave his box at first.
When BCR staff were finally able to get him out of his box he refused to turn his back on them as he paced away.
After some clapping and foot shuffling from staff, Thor finally turned tail and ran into his new forest home.