Wild bobcats wander campus over break

Leaving a trail of pigeon feathers and tracks, a wild bobcat has been spotted on Weber State University campus numerous times by WSU Facilities

(Source: Ron Stuart) A wild bobcat has been spotted at least four times by Weber State University Facilities Management personnel. The bobcat has been nicknamed Waldo in honor of WSU’s mascot.

Management personnel.

The bobcat, or “Waldo,” as it has been nicknamed, isn’t alone. According to Ron Stuart, a mechanic who works in vehicle repair on campus, a baby bobcat is also around. Stuart, who is also an experienced hunter and trapper, said the two bobcats will probably return to the mountains as soon as school starts.

“If he acts like a normal cat, he’ll leave as soon as he starts seeing activity increase in the center here at the facility,” Stuart said. “I believe they helped take care of our pigeon problem.”

He said the two bobcats pose no threat to the human Wildcats, and that they have come down off the mountain in search of food.

“He won’t hurt anybody if we don’t hurt him. He’ll go away,” Stuart said. “He’ll go away and establish territory somewhere else; he just dropped in for a snack.”

Last seen on Jan. 2, the bobcat has been spotted by WSU staff at least four times, and Stuart even captured it on camera. He said the adult bobcat weighs approximately 30-35 pounds. If the cats are seen again on campus, staff will call the Division of Wildlife Resources, and the cats will be humanely captured and returned to the mountains somewhere nearby.

Waldo’s sighting is one of the first of bobcats on WSU campus, but wildlife coming down from the Wasatch Front is nothing new. Rick Wade, the director of Campus Services, said animal sightings are not unusual this time of year.

“When you get the snow, and when you get the temperatures that are this cold, it pushes a lot of the wildlife that like to call home on the bench down on campus,” Wade said. “It’s quite normal during breaks to have more animal traffic on campus than when school is in session. There is a food source there.”

There is no protocol for wildlife on campus, because the animals usually return to their habitats. According to Wade, deer are a common sight.

“Occasionally we’ll have a deer that’ll jump around,” he said. “Years and years ago, we had one, actually, that got stuck in the stadium. He jumped the fence and couldn’t get back out . . . Usually they don’t pose any issues for us at all.”

WSU Facilities Management discourages hunters and trappers from coming on campus to try to catch the bobcats and other wildlife.

“We don’t want trappers up here,” Stuart said. “We would like to suggest to leave it alone. And I think it has a young one. It’s very pertinent that it’s able to finish raising the young one.”