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Bobcat and her kittens spotted roaming UC Riverside’s Botanic Gardens


UC Riverside Botanic Gardens quietly welcomed two unexpected visitors earlier this month.

Two bobcat kittens and their mother were spotted roaming around the gardens one day when a staff member noticed the animals and filmed the encounter, said Jodie S. Holt, director of the gardens.

In a video clip shot shared by the UC Riverside facility on Instagram, one of the kittens appears to notice the employee through a green fence and shyly approaches him. As it inches closer, the kitten becomes distracted by the fence separating the two and stops to sniff it.

Staffers roped off the area, but not long after the bobcat’s mother apparently moved her family away to a more secluded area.

Wildlife sightings — bobcats, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, lizards — are a regular occurrence for employees because of the gardens’ location near Hot Springs Mountain. The gardens encompass 40 acres with more than 3,000 plant species and fluctuating elevation and topography.

But the appearance of baby animals is rare, according to Holt. “Usually [they’re] well-hidden and we don’t know if they live in the garden or live nearby and pass through,” she said.

Holt said employees are “very attuned” to the surrounding wildlife and are always on the lookout for what they might see.

The video clip has recorded more than 2,000 views with some commenters expressing interest in visiting the kittens. But Holt urged visitors to stay on trails and avoid approaching wildlife, especially when they have their young near them.




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