LAKE ALMANOR, CA - A lost baby bobcat was rescued Saturday by a firefighter hand crew assigned to the Chips Fire.
Hand crew Supt. Tad Hair said the baby was found going around in circles near a tree stump. He described her as the size of a domestic kitten and her vision seemed impaired, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Laurie Pearson.
"They were there, saw her in the dirt, her eyes were all crusted over," Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care executive director Cheryl Milham said. "She had crust on nose. She was walking around in circles."
The firefighters searched a large area for the bobcat's mother, but found no sign of her.
Meantime, Hair said the baby followed them, nestling on his boots against his chaps when they stopped.
Pearson said the firefighters contacted several agencies and were put in contact with Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, a non-profit group which rescues, rehabilitates and releases orphaned and injured wildlife.
The rescue group has been taking care of the baby 1.5 pound kitten named "Chips", for the fire, flushing her eyes and feeding her. Her burned paws were also being treated.
"She doesn't do too much as you saw on the table; her feet still hurt," Milham said.
Milham said they were optimistic Chips would regain her sight once her eye infection was cleared up.
Until she is old enough to care for herself, Milham said the kitten would be sheltered through the winter with other bobcats and then released into the wild where staff believes there is abundant prey for her.
"It feels good, the fireman was able to save it and now we'll do our job and hopefully one day, we'll see it running across the mountains," Milham said.
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