UNDERSTANDING BOBCATS IN THE GRANITE STATE: A cooperative project led by the University of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department

 

Project Objectives

Increased sightings and captures of bobcats in the past 10 years or so suggest that they are becoming more abundant in New Hampshire. The extent of this population increase is not known, but it does seem likely that bobcats have responded to >20 years of protection. With an apparent increase in abundance, there is also renewed interest among many outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts about the factors that influence bobcat abundance. As a result, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has teamed up with faculty at UNH to conduct a four-year study to examine the distribution and abundance of bobcats in the state, identify what habitat features they rely upon, develop an understanding of how bobcats respond to expanding human populations, and design a method to monitor changes in bobcat abundance.

We established study areas in southwestern and southeastern portions of the state. The southwestern area has been the historic stronghold of bobcats in New Hampshire. The southeastern area, on the other hand, is a region where bobcats were uncommon only a few years ago.

Our study plan is pretty straightforward. First, we will use a sample of radio-collared bobcats to identify important habitat associations and area requirements. Combining information on habitat suitability and area requirements should enable us to estimate the potential number of bobcats that can occur in New Hampshire. Next, movement of collared bobcats will be used to identify potential wildlife corridors. We also are looking at the genetics of bobcats, using that information to supplement our identification of movment corridors by measuring gene flow. Finally, we plan to develop a method to monitor bobcats throughout the state. Check out how we are doing by reading our regular Progress Reports.

 

 

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