Wildlife centre uses animal costume to rehabilitate bobcats
The Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Centre at Morgan Hill, California, has an unusual method of preparing orphaned bobcats for reintroduction to the wild. In a technique similar to that employed in Giant Panda conservation, bobcat "mommy" Colleen Grzan wears a full-body costume when interacting with the cats.
Grzan teaches the bobcat kittens to socialize, and encourages bobcat behavior such as hunting and stalking. The bobcat costume ensures the cats will not become accustomed to humans, so they will stay clear of them once released into the wild.
To aid realism, Grzan masks her human scent by rubbing herbs over her clothes and hair; the costume itself is scented with bobcat urine. She wears heavy gloves and remains silent when crawling around with the kittens.
At present, WERC is looking after three bobcat orphans, who will be returned to where they were found at around nine months of age.