WEST MILFORD, N.J. – A young bobcat rehabilitated after being struck by a car in November was released into the woods of West Milford this week.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife released the wild cat at Waywayanda State Park.
The animal had spent months rehabilitating at the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge in Hunterdon County, after it sustained multiple fractures to its right hind leg that required pins, wires, screws and plates to repair, according to the Division.
“Releasing is always bittersweet, but giving our wild patients a second chance is the sweet part,” said Tracy Leaver, the refuge’s executive director.
Bobcats are listed as endangered species in New Jersey. Their biggest threats are habitat fragmentation and vehicle strikes, and each year about seven or eight are reported killed by vehicles, according to the Division.
“This bobcat was very lucky to have survived being hit by a vehicle,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Acting Director Larry Herrighty. “It was able to pull through the surgery and rehabilitation successfully because it was so young when it was hit. We are very hopeful that it will succeed in the wild.”