Monday, May 22, 2017

"Bevy of bobcats: Thriving animals poised as next urban pest"


James Quigg
FILE - In this April 16, 2012, file photo, a small, likely juvenile, bobcatis perched on a power pole in a residential neighborhood of Victorville, Calif. Bobcat numbers have almost tripled nationwide since the 1980s to as many as 3.6 million, according ro a 2010 study in the Journal of Fish and Wildlife management, the most recent national survey. (James Quigg/The Daily Press via AP, File)

 "CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — As someone who has studied bobcats for almost four decades, wildlife ecologist John Litvaitis remembers many times returning from the field without spotting a single one of these solitary and shy creatures that often hunt at dusk.

"But bobcats are less elusive now as their numbers rise and they become more comfortable around humans. Joining the likes of foxes, coyotes and even mountain lions in rare cases, bobcats are making a home in small towns and suburbs — and realizing there is plenty to eat in the cities.

"They have turned up in recent years in such places as Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city; Waverly, Iowa; and outside Los Angeles. They have been spotted below backyard bird feeders, waltzing along streets in search of their next meal and, increasingly, as roadkill.
"A website that Litvaitis set up to understand the bobcat rebound in New Hampshire features hundreds of amateur photographs — of a cat lounging on someone's lawn, another stalking a chipmunk, a third sitting contentedly after gobbling up a guinea fowl and peacock.

"'They are back in New England and at least as abundant as they were 100 years ago, if not more,' said Litvaitis, who conducted much of his research while at the University of New Hampshire. 'They are adapting to a landscape that has changed. You have roads and people everywhere, and they have figured out how to get along with most of that.'

"The resurgence of Lynx rufus comes during a shift over the past several decades from treating bobcats as vermin to be exterminated to being considered a top predator worthy of protection."

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I'd love to own one of these.

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