Counting Bobcats - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Counting Bobcats

Posted:

STEVENS POINT (WAOW)—Bobcats are one of the most harvested animals in the state, according to University of Wisconsin--Stevens Point Researcher John Clare.

"There's extremely high interest to get the opportunity to engage in the capture or harvest of one of these animals" Clare told Newsline 9. 

Clare is working on a study to gauge the Wisconsin bobcat population using self-described unconventional methods. 

"We contracted out a group of scat-detecting dogs from the University of Washington and we're using trail cameras" he said.  "I think a primary interest for me was that this is an exciting project using a variety of different novel techniques that will be in wide use in all sorts of research and management efforts in the near future." 

Utilizing specially-trained dogs who detect where bobcat droppings are, Clare analyzes the genetic makeup and can learn specific information about the bobcats living in the state. 

Paired with his DNA lab analysis, Clare is complimenting his research with a series of trail cameras.  They snap pictures of the animals to identify common physical characteristics of bobcats.    

"The hope is come 2013, we should be able to provide some population estimate for the southern part of the state" he said.

Bobcats are frequently hunted in northern Wisconsin, but scientists say they do not know much about the species prevalence in the remainder of the state.  The animal typically weighing between 15 and 30 pounds is known for being elusive in the wild. 

"They're not always where you expect them to be," Clare said.  "They can adapt to a broad range of conditions." 

Despite their low-profile in the wild, bobcats are often hunted.  But since scientists struggle with estimating the size of the population, wildlife officials are unsure about how many can be harvested without harming the species survival. 

Clare said that nearly 13,000 people applied for only 400 bobcat tags available in 2010.  He believes his research will help in finding the right balance and protecting the species' sustainability in the future.   

 

Powered by Frankly