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'We need professionals to get this off': Buckeye neighbors trying to help bobcat with hose around neck

For three months, neighbors in north Buckeye have been tracking a bobcat with something around its neck and are hoping they can get it help.

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — Standing in the street of the Sun City Festival neighborhood in north Buckeye, it's easy for Tammy Bithell to point out where she once spotted the wild cat. 

"We know this is her crib," Bithell said, pointing at a house ahead of her. 

Bithell is among those living here that call wildlife a neighbor too. 

"We refer to her as 'Mama Bobcat,'" Bithell said. 

"Mama Bobcat" has been spotted in the area for months now. Bithell caught her on video back in October. 

"I took the photograph, video on this side of the house of her kittens because she still had her kittens at the time, and all the sudden, I saw the mama on the roof," Bithell said. 

Bithell's video was captured about a week after someone spotted something around the bobcat's neck. 

"It was what we decided was construction, flex hose. And we became concerned about that," Bithell said. 

Since then, neighbors have been posting on Nextdoor sharing their sightings of the bobcat, still with the piece around its neck. 

"It looks like it's compressing, and it looks sharp," Bithell said. "And I think she's developed her winter coat, and I think it's even tighter now." 

Bithell said the neighbors have contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. 

The center's set out a trap, Bithell said, but they can't do anymore at the moment.

Game and Fish hasn't helped, according to Bithell. 

"When I don't see her, I get worried, and I get frustrated that we can't seem to help her," Bithell said. 

An Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesperson said because the agency is closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they'd look into it on Tuesday. 

But back in September 2021, Game and Fish did help another bobcat in Oro Valley get a flex pipe off its head and neck. 

That's the kind of help that Bithell has started a GoFundMe for. 

"Myself and many of our neighbors have become really frustrated that you know, we're not professionals; we need professionals to get this off," Bithell said. 

Bithell said any money not needed to help the bobcat will be donated back to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. 

Hoping that an agency can get "Mama Bobcat" trapped, treated, and released back to the neighborhood the wild cat is calling home. 

"We don't want this Mama Bobcat injured, and we kind of feel responsible because we feel like it's construction materials," Bithell said. "And we feel like we need to help her because it'll eventually kill her." 

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