The elusive cat is on the rebound in the Buckeye State.
Bobcats are a very elusive and secretive creature. The once abundant cats began to lose habitat during the early settlement of Ohio when forests and marshland were cleared for farming.
By 1850, bobcats were extirpated from the state. However, bobcats have been on the rebound in Ohio since that time and have recently been removed from the Endangered Species List in July of 2014.
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The Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently released their annual bobcat report for 2013. Last year, there were 226 unverified sightings of bobcat reported from 61 different counties. This was a slight decrease from the 242 unverified sightings reported in 2012.
Despite the decrease in unverified sightings, 2013 saw a jump in verified sightings. There were 200 confirmed and verified sightings of bobcat in 2013, up from 169 the year before. A verified sighting signifies that the bobcat was confirmed by positive identification; usually through pictures, road killed animals, and those accidentally caught in traps.
“Of the 200 verified sightings, 113 were recognized from photographs or videos. Additional sightings were verified through 54 road kills, 21 incidentally trapped animals, seven sightings by qualified personnel, two struck by trains, one verified sighting of tracks, one killed by a dog, and one shot,” the report said.
It is a good sign for the ecosystem in Ohio that the bobcat is making a return. A combination of increased conservation efforts by the ODNR, as well as the unlimited coyote season in Ohio, seems to be having the desired effect on the bobcat population in the Buckeye State.
Although the increase in numbers is good to see, don’t expect a hunting or trapping season for bobcat to be open any time soon. The animals are still protected in the state and a much greater population must be detected before the discussion of a possible season can be started.
Have you ever seen a bobcat in Ohio? Are you happy they are returning to the state? Let us know in the comments below.