Holtsville Ecology Center

Holtsville, NY

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Ms. April Perry, Director
Holtsville Ecology Center
249 Buckley Road
Holtsville, NY 11742

December 15, 2022

Dear Ms. Perry,

I visited your ecology center and enjoyed seeing the animals. I am concerned, however, about the Lynx and the Bobcat that are in your care.

While looking at these cats and seeing their enclosures, it brought up several issues for me. First, and perhaps most importantly, the size of their enclosures are nowhere near what they should be.  While you may be following regulations set forth by NYS DEC or the USDA the reality is that those regulations do not take the cats’ true well-being into consideration.

These cats (bobcat and lynx) need space to run, jump and climb. Just as a human needs exercise to stay healthy, so do these cats. Additionally, they need different types of enrichment to keep their minds sharp and engaged so they do not develop depression or “zoochosis” (where the animal exhibits monotonous, obsessive or repetitive actions such as pacing back and forth). The only “enrichment” items I saw in their enclosures was some firehoses, steps, a tree stump and a small ball for the bobcat. Neither cat looked happy and, honestly, the bobcat looked depressed and stressed.

The cats don’t even have a place to hide from people if they don’t want to be seen. The tunnel leading from their enclosures to the night cages is not good enough. They should be able to be outside in the fresh air while still being able to hide and not be seen. The igloo you have in the Bobcat’s cage is not fully adequate. By nature, they are both solitary animals and I am sure that the number of visitors you have daily and the noise and yelling from excited children surely causes stress to the cats. You should have shrubbery, brush, etc. so these cats can make a choice as to whether they wish to be seen or not. As it is, they are forced to be on display because they have no place to go.

While it is exciting and “cool” for some people that there is a lynx and a bobcat on Long Island for people to see, I think you should consider the best interest of the cats. You can do this by arranging the transfer these cats to a GFAS sanctuary so they can be as wild as possible while still being in captivity (since they can never be released into the wild). A GFAS sanctuary will provide these cats with the space they need as well as the proper care, nutrition, safety and respect that they deserve.

I do commend your organization for educating children about farm animals and other wildlife.  However, I don’t think it’s a good idea to give children the impression that exotic cats belong in small enclosures for the entertainment of the public and being in small cages. The cages they are in are so small and really no different than being in someone’s house or apartment (as these two likely were before being given to your facility). These cats belong in a sanctuary where they can live as close to a normal life as possible.

I have attached fact sheets about Eurasian Lynx and Bobcats as well as information about the GFAS, what is considered a true sanctuary and a listing of GFAS sanctuaries for exotic cats in the US so you can contact a sanctuary and transfer these beautiful cats to them. They deserve a decent life and only a true sanctuary can provide that for them.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.Sincerely, Diane Williams