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Bobcat stirs mixed feelings in upscale Newport Beach neighborhood

May 20, 2010 |  8:13 am


Residents in an upscale Newport Beach community have a new neighbor -- a 5-year-old bobcat they've named Babe.

Dover Shores residents have mixed feelings about the newest addition, which may be be a repeat visitor to the area. Residents contacted animal control Wednesday after the bobcat was chased up a tree by a dog; however, officers left after a few hours without removing the animal, resident Doug Ayers said.

Bobcat populations rise in the spring, and animal control receives about four calls a week from concerned homeowners who have spotted the animals roaming their yards, said Police Sgt. Steve Burdette, who handles media inquiries on behalf of animal control.

“Our policy is not to trap or relocate, just to monitor the animal’s activity,” Burdette said. “We would only remove [the bobcat] if it was a danger to humans.”

Biologist and bobcat expert Dick Newell has been following the patterns of the bobcats in the Upper Newport Bay area for more than 10 years, he said, and has never seen one hostile to humans.

The 17-pound Babe has been tracked by Newell since 2006. The large cat is known to act comfortably around visitors to the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, Newell said.

-- Sarah Peters

Photo credit: Janice Hess / Special to the Daily Pilot