UPDATE Tuesday Jan. 9 — One of two bobcats kittens was rescued last night from an outdoor drain, where the pair had been trapped since yesterday morning. Arizona Game and Fish officials were in the process of rescuing the other one—which had since climbed into a tree—and expect to have it safely captured this morning. FULL STORY >>>
UPDATED 6:28 p.m. — Bobcats would normally be no match for jaguars, but today the smaller felines forced a lockdown at Boulder Creek High School, home of the Jags. Everyone was safe by the time the incident had been mostly resolved mid-afternoon.
“There is a mother bobcat on campus and her babies have fallen in a drainpipe,” a message on the school’s web site stated at about 11: 30 a.m. “AZ Game and Fish is on scene to handle the mother bobcat as they rescue the bobcat babies. This is in the area near the cafeteria. School is under lockdown until the situation is cleared.”
Two kittens were spotted in a culvert on school grounds, a Maricopa County Sheriff’s office spokesperson said. “The mama was looking for the babies,” DVUSD spokesperson Monica Allread told North Phoenix News. The mother bobcat “wandered back into the desert,” Allread said. Game and Fish “is trying to get them reunited.”
By early afternoon the lockdown had been lifted, but students were being directed around the area where the young bobcats were confined. In raw video footage from news choppers, it appeared Game and Fish had used three folding tables, on edge and leaning against each other, to confine the kittens. News helicopters circled the school and hovered north of it into the afternoon.
“The mother bobcat was captured by Game and Fish and was transported for rehabilitation at Southwest Wildlife,” BCHS Principal Brittany Sutton told parents via email and a recorded voice message at about 2 p.m. “At this time they are continuing to work to free the kittens from the drainpipe and to reunite them with their mother. They have set a trap for a humane release, and we will continue monitoring that area.”
“Today we assisted in safely tranquilizing and transporting a female bobcat” from BCHS, Game & Fish tweeted later in the afternoon. “Once her kittens are carefully trapped, they will be reunited and released back into the wild when it is safe to do so.” The agency released a photo of the mother bobcat at about 5:30 p.m. and reiterated she “will be reunited with her kittens when they’re safely trapped.”
Several parents reported getting texts from children at the school during the lockdown, saying that they were all safe.
Bobcat sightings are common in Anthem and elsewhere in North Phoenix. Game and Fish advises anyone who sees wildlife acting strangely and/or in a spot it shouldn’t be, and the matter seems urgent, to call AZGFD 24/7 at 623-236-7201.