The Source Weekly chose to print on May 9 an anonymous letter with many inaccuracies regarding the High Desert Museum’s new rescued bobcat, Vivi.
The letter writer states being “dismayed by the recent purchase of a young bobcat.” The Museum did not purchase the bobcat. It received the cat from an owner who could not care for it any longer, and this animal is not young. The 12-year-old bobcat is the end of the average lifespan of a bobcat in the wild. It is likely that she will enjoy a much longer life, however, because of the outstanding care and shelter she receives at the Museum. We know this because our bobcat, Ochoco, beloved by thousands who met him in the same atrium habitat here, was 20 years old when he died in February.
Before Vivi came to the Museum, she had been de-clawed, so she cannot hunt or survive in the wild. Since Vivi arrived here last month, our professional team of wildlife biologists has utilized its expertise in designing a specialized care and feeding regimen for her. They have marveled at how much healthier she has become in such a short time.
The uniformed letter writer goes on to “wonder who makes these decisions” about her forested atrium habitat here, filled with fresh air and natural sunlight. We are happy to not let this person wonder a moment longer. The decision to provide this specific area for her home came from the Museum’s team of museum and wildlife professionals, and warranted the approval of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service and a contracted veterinarian specializing in the care of wild animals, particularly large cats.
It is a disservice to your readers and our community to allow a letter such as this to appear in The Source without finding out the facts. Just last month, after the community joined us in saying goodbye to Ochoco, your outdoors writer Jim Anderson wrote in praise of the Museum for its vital role in helping care for our region’s wild animals, particularly those who had been kept as pets.
The Museum is home to more than 100 rescued, live wild animals such as Vivi for an important reason: this nonprofit institution educates thousands locally, as well as visitors from around the West, the nation and the world, inspiring them with unique, fun and enriching programs about High Desert nature and culture. Thank you in advance for correcting the statements about the work that our visitors continually praise and is a source of great pride in our community.