Big Kitty!

Big Kitty!

This picture is of a Canada Lynx, taken at the Frisco Creek wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, formerly known as the Dietrich Native Species Treatment Center, in Colorado. This center played a key role in Colorado’s Canada lynx recovery effort, and continues to do so today. The center was acquired by the Colorado Division of Wildlife from a private owner, Susan Dieterich, who had established the facility with her husband in 1989. Susan and Herman Dieterich worked tirelessly for many years treating and rehabilitating animals as small as song birds and as large as moose. The couple became among the most respected of wildlife rehabilitators. Their efforts, which began on a private 234-acre ranch, evolved into a 12-acre rehabilitation center on that ranch, in a remote wildlife-rich area. More than 3,000 individual animals were cared for by the couple, who each had veterinary expertise. Black bears, numbering 100, 25 mountain lions and 50 eagles, all received loving care at the facility courtesy of the Dieterichs. In the years 2001 and 2002, 70 orphaned or injured black bears were brought to Frisco Creek for care, after a drought and resultant food crop failure. Most of those black bears were cared for and released back into the wild. After Herman Dieterich died suddenly, in 2003, his wife continued operation of the center, with support from Division of Wildlife staff members. The Division of Wildlife formally acquired the facility in 2004. The center continues to specialize in the rehabilitation and species conservation of large carnivores, especially the Canada lynx. It is a full-service wildlife hospital receiving referred cases from all over Colorado, and serves as a lynx holding facility for those big Canada cats which inhabit high elevations. They prey primarily on snowshoe rabbits. The endangered Canada Lynx, which enjoys federal protection in some states, has been a victim of intensive trapping, habitat loss and degradation, and lack of universal protection under law. The species will have a chance at recovery, but only where the Endangered Species Act is fully implemented. One or two people can, like the Dieterichs, make a big difference in the future of animals.


14 thoughts on “Big Kitty!

  1. just found your blog, thanks to photo of big kitty making its way around facebook. hope you get lots of attention and praise for the good work, and good writing you do. all the best with the squirrels. gail todd in niagara, ontario, canada

    • Thank you so much for checking out this post. I’m so glad to post materials about wildlife rehab and conservation centers! It’s the least I can do. There is a picture of one of the little squirrels that are in my care on today’s post – “Dinner Time.” All eight of them are growing very quickly. It’s always so nice to hear from a Northern neighbor, and I thank you again for your kindness. :>) Cheers, Jean Neal

  2. Beautiful story of such powerful, tireless effort to help wildlife. The picture is being shared all over Facebook, sadly no one is linking the story. I posted the picture and linked this story on Facebook earlier. Hopefully others will share the story as well.

    • Thank-you so much for your comments. There have been over 2,000 views of this post so far. Hopefully more people will become aware of the need for such work as is being done at wildlife rehab and conservation centers world-wide. Keep on keeping on! :>)

      • Thanks for the wonderful work you do and the fabulous pictures. I too, found that gorgeous lynx on Facebook. Why don’t you consider starting a page and post the pics with links back here? I wish I had the skill to do the work you do when I retire, unfortunately, an unbridled love of animals isn’t quite enough!

      • You’re so right about unbridled love not being enough. My facebook page (Jean Neal, Fairview, Oklahoma) shows daily repostings of notices from animal shelters of animals in need of homes or sponsorship. As oldsters my husband and I don’t wish to take on the responsibility for another pet in our home, although we both dearly love them all. We have 2 cats and 6 birds (small parrots) and worry about what would happen to them if we should become incapacitated or die. So – we began doing rehab. work with the intent to release the wild ones back into their true environment. Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog and for your kind comments. Take care! :>)

  3. Hi, I just found you as I research a snail-mail query asking if, “…you are the person behind the lynx…” re “Big Kitty” on a facebook page called “Amazing Things in the World”. I am the person “behind the lynx” (not the person in the pic): I housed and fed and medically treated these amazing animals at my rehabilitation/hospital Frisco Creek as read in your blog: If you want to read more about this and the other canada lynx success, go to: CDOW Lynx Recovery Susan Dieterich. I’ll be answering the query letter in the email he gave and the answer is basically Yes, the lynx is ok. In the photo, he’s chemically-sedated for health-check exam, being carried to a recovery cage while he wakes up. Released in the Spring, he and other lynx from the same location of origin are go into the Colorado wild lands near Creed, Pagosa Springs, etc. to breed and raise young. The program is officially ruled a successful reintroduction. I am pursuing new “Big Kitty” adventures in wildlife conservation as a founding director of yet another 501(c)(3) nonprofit Primero Conservation, find us at: Our focus is to save a place for puma and jaguar, apex predators, via proactive management models.
    Susan Dieterich

    • Ms. Dieterich, Thank you so much for your lovely letter and the information you shared. Was happy to hear that the lynx in the picture was in good condition and ready to be released. I don’t share release location information because of fear of hunters. So excited to hear about your new nonprofit work. If I can do anything more than lend my small voice in support, please let me know. I stand in awe of your and your wonderful work. sincerely, Jean Neal, Fairview, Oklahoma

  4. A fellow cat lover on FB shared the photo above with me and it has become one of my favorites. I had a pet Manx in college and once encountered a small Bobcat jogging in upstate New York. It was great moment of mutual surprise before we both ran on. 🙂 Every since tailless felines with tufted ears have had a place in my heart. I’m glad to hear of the work of the Frisco Creek hospital in my birth state of Colorado.

    • We live in NW Oklahoma and had the Big Kitty surprise of our lives two years ago. Prairie fires were raging across much of the region, and there was a particularly big one about 20 miles from this little town (Fairview). One night while firefighters were working hard to get it under control, neighbors heard the sound of a large cat near their homes. Some of them managed to get pictures of a large, dark Puma and kit going through the underbrush next to their homes. When we went out in our yard the following morning, we found huge and smaller paw prints, up near the house. We figured they were fleeing from the firestorm. When we lived in Northern Florida, we often saw bobcats in the 10,000-acre pine woods where our home was located, also black bears. I, too, love tufted-ear cats and wish the continued outlook for their survival in the wild was more optimistic. With their habitats being encroached upon and hunters thirsting for kills, they are having a bad time. Wild Earth Guardians, with a stated goal of protecting and restoring wildlife, wild places and wild rivers in the American West, has a good website if you’re interested. Thanks for your kind reply.

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