'Feisty' Bobcat Badly Burned in California Wildfire Returns to the Wild After Successful Recovery

A young bobcat that spent nearly two months recovering from burns sustained in the El Dorado Fire in Yucaipa, California was released back into the wild.

On Wednesday, the San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) said on Facebook that the young bobcat had fully recovered after seven weeks of "intensive treatment for burns and infection" at the rescue's Ramona Wildlife Center.

"Having doubled in size since coming into our care, this feisty girl is now ready to fend for herself in the wild," the organization added.

In a statement, the SDHS said that a member of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CADFW) picked up the young bobcat from the Ramona Wildlife Center and transported her to a location outside of the burn area that is home to rich food and water for her release. The rescue also shared a video on Facebook of the bobcat pawing back into the wild.

The 7-to-9-month-old bobcat first arrived at the Ramona Wildlife Center on Oct. 13 after a citizen from Yucaipa spotted the bobcat while she was walking her dogs.

The dog owner brought the animal to a veterinary clinic in Grand Terrace, the SDHS said. At the clinic, the bobcat was so "growly" that staff hesitated to open the carrier and instead contacted CADFW.

The SDHS's Project Wildlife staff identified the feline as a bobcat and treated its burns, some of which were infected and quite severe, with multiple bandage changes and strong antibiotics.

After one month of treatment, the bobcat doubled in size to more than 9 pounds. After seven weeks, she made a full recovery.

"This is why we work so hard for every single patient who comes through our doors — so they can return to the wild and thrive in their natural habitat," said Andy Blue, campus director at SDHS's Ramona Wildlife Center. "This little fighter went from emaciated with severe burns to becoming a feisty predator who will be able to fend for herself in nature. We are thrilled!”

The El Dorado Fire began on Sept. 5 and has burned over 22,744 acres. One firefighter died while trying to put out the flames in San Bernardino National Forest.

Cal Fire officials previously said that the fire was sparked by a "smoke generating pyrotechnic device" used during a "gender reveal" party.

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