Think of Death Valley wildlife and you think of....well, rattlesnakes perhaps. But the national park has a population of bobcats, as a visitor and Furnace Creek resort employee learned recently when they were attacked by two of the felines.
Park officials say that on December 17th a bobcat attacked a visitor at the Furnace Creek Inn. Rangers found that a 64-year-old woman had suffered scratches and bites on her hands, face and scalp. For several days thereafter, there were numerous bobcat sightings around the inn and resort, according to Aaron Shandor, the park's acting chief ranger.
Rangers saw several bobcats that showed signs of habituation to humans, but were unable to determine which one was responsible for the attack.
On Friday, December 21st, rangers responded to another report of a bobcat attack at the inn. A male employee of the resort had reportedly been smoking outside the building when the bobcat attacked him, inflicting bites and lacerations to his head and neck.
Since the attack occurred on private property, California Fish and Game and the Inyo County Sheriff's Office were notified. Fish and Game officers asked the park to euthanize the bobcat to ensure public safety. Necropsy results, received last week, revealed that the animal was not suffering from rabies.
Rangers and Fish and Game officers found that several resort employees had been feeding wildlife, greatly contributing to the bobcats' habituation and aggressive behavior.