As the lines between wildlife and human settlement continue to meld, it appears even New England’s mesocarnivores have become complacent with their meal choices.
Police in Stratham, New Hampshire reported via Facebook about the odd call and subsequent removal of a bobcat from a local Burger King rooftop.
The post states:
All in a day's work...Off. Matt Callahan received a call of a bobcat cub on the roof of Burger King over the weekend. Fish and Game were called and the little guy was taken away safely...
New Hampshire Fish and Game was called in to assist with removal of the animal. With the assistance of conservation officer Graham Courtney, Officer Callahan was able to capture the animal on the fast food chain’s rooftop without interfering with the drive-thru line.
The bobcat was reportedly transported and released in nearby woods.
While the Stratham Police and a myriad of Facebook commenters refer to the captured bobcat as a “cub” or “kitten”, myself and other Furbearer Conservation contributors agree the bobcat depicted in the Department’s images appears to be a dispersing juvenile animal. The animal was likely already on its own and able to survive independently - although mom clearly didn’t spend enough time on hunting since the youngster chose BK over wild turkeys!
Bobcats have become a standard urban fixture in recent years throughout New Hampshire and the Northeast United States. The NH Fish & Game Department proposed a limited bobcat hunting season in 2016 to manage what studies had found was a rebounded bobcat population statewide.
The Department subsequently withdrew the proposal amid a firestorm of debate between hunters, animal rights activists, and politicians.
Since the proposal withdrawal, local media and social media posts are regularly bombarded with civilian photos of bobcats roaming suburban neighborhoods and stalking small game around bird feeders and patios.
As for Stratham’s weekend wildcat wanderer - this is one instance where a Burger King visitor was definately not going to “Have It Their Way”.