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HERMANTOWN - A furry Hermantown celebrity who's the latest made healthy
with help from Wildwoods Rehabilitation regained his freedom Sunday, but the group says it's really a family that's behind Bernie the Bobcat's return to the wild.
A Hermantown mom discovered the feline injured on one of last January's coldest nights, and if not for her family's support Bernie could have been put down on the spot.
Back to health, back to the wild for the bobcat that humans named Bernie crouched for warmth near a Hermantown home.
"And I thought it was our dog at the back door who I
thought we had already let in and when I looked through this door there was a big
cat sitting here," said Brenda Winberg who found the bobcat. "You could tell that it had dragged itself from the
grass and this way because it had drag marks from that planter."
"Turned on the light and saw it and you know a bobcat's
head is about that big. I came outside and it actually tried to jump at me and
hiss and actually made a very deep growl," said Mark Winberg, who found Bernie behind his house.
The Winbergs took the bobcat for x–rays, which later showed Bernie suffered a bruised spine.
"And we're not sure what cause that but it was likely a
car accident," said Kelly Looby of Wildwoods Rehabilitation. "Often when animals like this are found they're
"The kids over that hour had kind of gotten attached to
it.," said Brenda.
"We just sat there. Then our friends came over and we
sat there," said Tyler Winberg.
"It wasn't bleeding, it wasn't too terribly hurt. It
was able to move so shooting it just wasn't an option for brenda and I and the
family," said Mark.
Now after an effort involving Hermantown Police coordinating
care through Wildwoods Rehabilitation Bernie's back, almost doubling his body weight.
"But really you need to make sure that they're ready to
hunt. That's probably the biggest thing. And Bernie had been showing signs of
his ability to hunt chipmunks and move around so that's a good sign," said Looby.
And with a limp adding swagger the cat didn't look back to see how far he's come.
"Just knowing that he's out there, close to our house,
it's pretty cool," said Tyler.
Wildwoods Rehabilitation is hoping this story encourages people who find injured wild
animals to give them a call at 218-491-3604.