A routine outage call to Wheatland Electric prompted the dispatch of a line crew to a location just outside of Lakin, Kansas. Going through the usual motions, technicians located the off meter and continued to locate the source of the outage.
As one of the linemen was strolling the line he discovered an unusual sight, but one that would certainly explain the cause of the now not-so-routine outage. Looking high up the 35-foot electric pole, the lineman noticed a bobcat hanging on to the phase wire with its teeth.
Making contact with both the phase wire and the ground wire simultaneously, officials believe the animal was killed instantly by electrocution, it’s hind leg scorched from the incident.
The crew dispatched a bucket truck to retrieve the animal and called for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism to assess the unique situation. While no one really knows what prompted the cat to scale the pole and bite down on the wire, Wheatland Electric did release a statement indicating the measures the organization takes to mitigate wildlife conflicts with electric wires.
“Since the 1970’s, Wheatland has made wildlife protection a significant part of its electrical system reliability goals. Wheatland attempts to protect all wildlife species including birds of prey, whooping cranes, raccoons, squirrels, snakes, numerous small bird species and more. Wheatland utilizes several methods such as the installation of rubber bushings on transformers, insulated jumper wires, sheet metal wrapping on certain poles and birds nest removal from substations to protect wildlife from electrocution. These efforts both protect valuable wildlife resources and help to improve system reliability for our members.” The release on their website stated.
Photos by: Chris Oliver