Stray lynx nursed, struts with some help to Southern California |

Stray lynx nursed, struts with some help to Southern California

A once bone-thin lynx discovered in a garbage can near Kingsbury Grade has been nursed back to health and is on its way to the Shambala Preserve in Southern California this morning.

The cat, which was found in late October, declawed and emaciated, was taken in by Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and is headed for a new life at the preserve which specializes in exotic cats.

“She was so emaciated,” said Cheryl Millham, executive director for Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care. “I never saw an animal so thin that was still alive.

The lynx, which was fed a steady diet of chicken, turkey and venison, has doubled its weight since it was discovered, she said.

“She is in beautiful shape,” Millham said. “Her fur is nice and thick, and she has filled out. She has probably gained about 10 or 15 pounds since we got her.”

The once defenseless animal is now a ferocious 25-pound lynx.

“When she roars, it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck,” Millham said.

But getting the cat back to health was not so easy. At first the lynx would not eat the rabbits, mice and birds it was offered, because she did not recognize them as food, Millham said.

But eventually she was able to find a diet that worked.

Millham said the lynx most likely was a pet, but had escaped from its owner and without its claws hunting was difficult.

It is estimated the cat is 1 year old.

“When your working with animals like that, you just do your best to guess,” Millham said.

At the Shambala Preserve, the lynx will be put in quarantine for a month and examined by a veterinarian to ensure that it does not have any diseases that could infect the other animals.

The lynx will be named by the time it is released to the preserve where it will have its own den with logs, branches and toys. It will be able to interact with the other cats such as a snow leopard, jungle cat, African lion, Bengal tiger and even an African elephant.

The 73 acre facility has about 40 acres of outdoor and indoor space for the cats to roam.

“The animals at Shambala are so beautifully taken care of that I am assured that she will be very happy,” said Tippi Hedren, who oversees the facility.

The lynx will be fed beef and chicken with vitamins and minerals added. Animals at the preserve are regularly checked by veterinarians and live two to three times longer than if in the wild. The lynx is expected to reach about 15 years old.

“We’re really delighted that Shambala is here to give a home to these animals who need a good home and she will be here for the rest of her life,” Hedren said.

The lynx will be transported by Pamela Hormiotis, a Lake Tahoe Wildlife care volunteer. The lynx will be transported in a cage by car. The nine-hour trip will begin at 6 a.m.

“She really wanted to do it, and she is real excited I think to take it down,” Millham said.

Hormiotis did the research and found the new home for the lynx. Three other locations were considered in Minnesota, Texas and Virginia. But the Southern California location was chosen in part, because it was easier and less expensive to transport the cat, Millham said.

Hormiotis has a special letter from the California Department of Fish and Game that gives her legal right to transport the animal.

For more information on the Shambala Preserve check their Web site at or call 661-268-0380. For more information on Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care or to report a wild animal call 577-care.

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