New Skills?

The new bobcat at Carolina Tiger has been trying to adjust for some time in his new environment... he just hasn't gotten used to his enormous enclosure yet, mostly due to the fact that his previous living conditions were about the size of a queen bed. Collins is pretty cool, however, and we hope that in time he will become less stressed and not pace so much. In preparation for making his new dig as cozy as possible, I spent some time on top of his thirty-some foot enclosure removing old shade tarps. The tarps were obviously useful at some point for shade form the hot North Carolina sun, but some of them have become thin and tattered and need to be replaced all over the compound. Tarp removal is just one of the many components of this internship, as captive management is not just about taking care of the animals themselves... you have to maintain the facility as well! This includes all sorts of unglamorous activity, of which I would consider climbing thirty feet on wobbly fence to be one of. However, I must have proved my ability at doing this, because through the close of winter I definitely became the tarp removal girl, and volunteers could see me doing all kinds of strange acrobatics on weekends removing torn and tattered tarps from the tops or sides of enclosures. I did have one interesting experience in which Ragsdale the caracal (who is a Level 3 on aggression... meaning that only keepers clean his enclosure because he is very fiesty) came and sat right below me on a particularly low part of the fence. Anyone who says these cats aren't smart is crazy, because I swear I saw the cogs in his head turning as he contemplated taking a bite out of my backside. Humor aside, managing enclosures in captivity is a constant chore, as there is always a need for replacing wood, updating doors and screws and hinges, and the obvious: making sure an animal cannot hurt himself or escape.