Colorado wildlife experts are warning of the dangers of sports nets after a bobcat got trapped in one over the weekend.
The “lucky” bobcat managed to escape from the net in Colorado Springs on Sunday morning, Bill Vogrin, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman, said in an email to McClatchy on Monday.
Wildlife manager Aaron Berscheid said a witness who wanted to free the animal couldn’t help because it was hissing, snarling and fighting against the net, the Denver Post reports. But the bobcat broke free as the witness called Berscheid for help, according to the newspaper.
“It’s not a friendly animal and hates humans,” Berscheid said, the Post reports.
A witness sent in photos of the entangled wild animal to Colorado wildlife staff, who shared them on Twitter on Monday to encourage residents to be careful with nets placed outside. The post said the animal could have killed or injured itself.
“Here’s why we ask you to take down sports nets when not in use,” the tweet said.
“Sports nets are a big issue for wildlife in Colorado,” Vogrin told McClatchy. “Unfortunately it is quite common for deer, elk and raptors to get caught in nets, especially large soccer nets. The animals can injure themselves and sometimes die in their frantic attempts to get free. They also are vulnerable to attack by predators when they are caught in nets.”
Vogrin said animals that are susceptible to the nets often are most active at night and are watching for predators or prey — not soccer nets.
Animals’ efforts to break free can hurt themselves and humans’ property, he said.
“In December 2017, an elk became tangled in a soccer net on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy and thrashed so violently that it eventually ripped the steel goalpost down and dragged it through a parking lot before one of our wildlife officers could arrive, tranquilize it and cut it free,” Vogrin wrote.
Halloween and Christmas decorations can also trap unsuspecting animals, who get “lights wrapped tightly around their necks, faces and mouths,” Vogrin said.
He shared pictures of animals caught in those sorts of incidents, too.
And it’s not uncommon for nets or lights to ensnare animals.
“They will panic,” Berscheid said of animals’ response to being trapped, the Post reports. “Raptors will break a wing. It’s a big problem. I see it all the time. It’s really a danger.”