National Park Service Posts Spooky Nighttime Shot of Phantom Bobcat: PHOTO

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Mark Newman

One bobcat in Joshua Tree National Park is ready for the upcoming Halloween festivities. In a recent post from the park’s official Instagram account, we got a spooky look at the big cat. The eerie creature stared down the photographer with its piercing eyes from a tree limb.

“Bobcats are often nocturnal creatures,” the post began. “A very stealthy animal, bobcats can leap up to 10 feet. Bobcats are very adaptive animals and can be found all over North America.”

Unsurprisingly, the pic garnered a lot of comments. Someone wrote,  “Binx, get down from there,” a direct quote from the Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus. Someone else also chimed in: “Someday, I will die trying to pet a thing that will kill me,” along with a cat emoji. 

According to wildlife experts, sometimes bobcats will climb into a tree and lie down on a large branch. Kittens commonly exhibit this behavior, but it also has been reported in adult bobcats. While cute, this could be a dangerous situation for a human. If you find a bobcat in your neck of the woods, experts suggest moving away from the animal, going inside, and bringing in any pets. Then, call your local wildlife agency and report the bobcat. Under any circumstances, do not try and transport a bobcat on your own. At the end of the day, these are dangerous animals and require the help of an experienced animal handler.

Arizona officials plead for help in bobcat killing

The Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief program recently announced it was offering a reward of up to $1,150 for information leading to an arrest in the illegal killing of a radio-collared bobcat that was a part of the Bobcats in Tucson research project.

Someone shot the bobcat at approximately 8:44 a.m. Sept. 28. 

 “This was the act of a criminal, a person without regard for one of the state’s most precious resources, its wildlife,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson. “The ongoing study that the bobcat was part of is gathering important data about how the species uses the urban wildlife habitat.”

Officials now urge those with information about the case to contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline at 800-352-0700 and reference OGT #22-003130. 

The maximum penalty for illegally killing wildlife and related violations is four months in jail and a $750 fine. Civil penalties may also apply.

In addition, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is responsible for overseeing more than 800 native wildlife species, the most of any state in the continental U.S., for current and future generations of Arizona residents.