On the prowl: Young bobcat joins the Perkins Wildlife family at Cleveland Museum of Natural History

This spring, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History welcomed a new male bobcat to the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center & Woods Garden—Presented by KeyBank. One-year-old Diego arrived in March from a private donor and is adapting well to his new home.

Diego was born on March 15, 2022. He currently weighs 11 pounds but will eventually reach the average weight of an adult male bobcat, 15 to 30 pounds.

Diego displays many of the typical qualities of a young feline. He is inquisitive, active, and very focused on the wildlife specialists who provide his daily care—particularly his meals, which consist of specially formulated feline chow and occasional treats.

Diego spent his first 30 days in a routine quarantine, becoming accustomed to his new caregivers, diet and surroundings, and new training practices—such as shifting between different enclosures on cue.

The wildlife specialists will continue to manage the carefully planned acclimation process, ensuring that Diego’s transition is smooth and successful.

“We are taking the process slowly and steadily and following Diego’s cues,” said director of wildlife Jim Nemet in a statement. “Diego is a smart and adaptable youngster with a keen curiosity. Our guests will surely enjoy watching his playfulness as he continues to develop and learn in his new surroundings.” 

Diego’s acclimation will include future introductions to the museum’s senior pair of bobcats, Bob and Bitty, who have resided in the Perkins Wildlife Center since they arrived as babies in 2002.

During visual introductions between Diego and Bob and Bitty, from separate habitats, the wildlife specialists have noted positive interactions and interest in one another.

The bobcats’ comfort levels and behaviors will dictate how quickly or slowly they progress to physical introductions. Ultimately, the goal is for all three bobcats to share outdoor exhibit space in Perkins.

“The Perkins Wildlife Center is a place where we connect our guests to nature, share stories about the animals in our care, and build a greater appreciation for wildlife conservation in Ohio,” said Nemet. “As invaluable ambassadors for their wild counterparts, Diego, Bitty, and Bob help us inspire a passion for the natural world.”

Bobcats are native to Ohio and one of seven wild cat species found in North America. Bobcat sightings in Ohio increased dramatically beginning in the 2000s, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. While bobcats are rebounding in Ohio, it is very unlikely to see one in the wild. They are elusive and crepuscular animals, meaning they prefer to be active at dusk and dawn.