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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

We have periodically reported on the comeback of wildlife in one of the most densely populated states, New Jersey,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, where Blback Bears, Coyotes, Fishers are all on the rebound..................Over the past 40 years, the Bobcat has also expanded it's "Garden State(NJ is still one of the largest truck farming states in the Union, thus the Garden State moniker) population and the hope is that over the next decade that the Dept. of Environmental Protection can lift the "endangered status" that the "Cat" lives under today......................A rewilding program in the 1970's saw a reintroduction of 20 Bobcats imported from Maine into NJ woodlands

Bobcats make comeback in Northwest NJ

Boonton Twp. family captures photo of reclusive cat that once disappeared

BOONTON TWP. — Fifty-five-year-old John Locke was weed whacking outside his Boonton Township home near Splitrock Reservoir Sunday morning when a large cat emerged from behind a tree.
"I saw it, but I didn't really know what I was seeing," he recalled. "Then I saw the ears and then tail and I realized this isn't a house cat."
The furry creature with tufted ears was a bobcat, an endangered species in New Jersey wildlife officials say appears to be making a comeback. The cats, rarely seen by humans, prefer to live in large woods removed from residential development. But just as the photographs snapped by Locke's daughter Ali show, they sometimes venture into view.
"In our backyard we see deer, foxes, bears, and coyotes pretty frequently, but never a bobcat that size," said Ali Locke, 22, who brought her dogs into the house and grabbed her camera to record the sighting.
"It's like it was posing for me. It was really fixed on something across the street, and went into the neighbor's driveway. That's when I was able to get such good shots. Then it went back into the woods and that was it."
Mick Valent, principal zoologist with the state Department of Environmental Protection, said it is not uncommon for bobcats to live in Morris County, particularly near Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township and throughout the corridor west of Route 287 and north of Route 80. However, Valent said, the cats may be slowly moving south of Route 80.
"A lot of people are surprised we have bobcats, but they're a native species in the area," Valent said. "They're just rarely seen because they are shy, secretive animals, primarily active at dusk and early morning hours."
Bobcats were once widespread throughout New Jersey, as common as deer, coyote and fox are today, Valent said. The predators disappeared in the 1970s, so about 20 were brought from Maine from 1978 to 1982 to repopulate them in New Jersey.
"The habitat was returning to support them, and since the species is native to the area it's our job to restore the population," he said. "They eat small animals like mice, rabbits, squirrels, and birds and have plenty of food."
For years, Valent said the DEP has been tracking the state's bobcat population, but that can be a difficult task because of their reclusive nature. In addition to logging sightings, pictures from hunters and reports of bobcats hit by cars, the state has trained a dog to locate bobcat scat, which is sent for DNA analysis to provide information difficult to ascertain otherwise, including its diet.
Valent said he expects the data will show an uptick in the bobcat population, but not enough to remove the species from the endangered list in New Jersey.
"They're limited to such a small area," he said.
Animal control officer Gail Strumph, who oversees operations in Boonton Township, Lincoln Park, Montville and Mountain Lakes, said she has received just one report of a bobcat sighting this year.
"If we get a call about one, it's usually just the one sighting," she said. "They're not going after people. They're just seen by chance."
More common in the area are coyote sightings — especially now, when prey like young fawns and turkeys are abundant, Strumph said.
Russ Kimble, 89, and Howard Plant, 93, said they enjoy spending their evenings watching young deer and other wildlife from the balcony of the New Jersey Fireman's Home in Boonton. But lately, they said, coyotes have killed all the animals.
"They've gotten all the turkeys, the groundhogs, and the fawns," said Kimble, who said he's seen three at a time.
Charlie Wilcox, 69, has lived at the Fireman's Home for four years and said he, too, has noticed more coyotes this summer.
"When I first got here I never saw a coyote," he said. "Two years I began to occasionally see one, never more than that. This year it's two or three at a time, as many as four once."
Strumph said her office receives several coyote sightings a week during the "busy season," May through September. "We're getting typical sightings, nothing extraordinary," she said.
In 2012, the DEP received 25 calls reporting coyotes in Morris County, more than any other county, according to Bob Considine, a DEP spokesman. In all, the department receives about 160 coyote calls per year, he said.
Neither coyotes nor bobcats are known to attack humans, and it's rare for coyotes to attack pets, Considine said.
Homeowners can decrease the chances for run-ins with the predators, he said, by securing garbage, removing water sources and clearing areas where rodents might live.
"If you do see a coyote, make sure you let them know they're not a welcome guest. A car horn or any loud noises usually will scare them off," Considine said.
Meanwhile, the Lockes said they feel lucky to have experienced the bobcat encounter.
"We are just so impressed that animals like that still exist in this state, and in such good health," Ali Locke said.


ken nerger said...

While visiting a friend in Lincoln Park NJ on January 7, 2016 I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spotted a bobcat which had come out of the brush and was drinking water from a drainage pipe. This happened at dusk where the manicured lawns of the development that my friend lives in abut to the surrounding "wilderness".
Unfortunately I was on the phone in her backyard when this beautiful creature presented herself to me and was only a mere 50' feet away offering me a very clear and unobstructed view.
As a boy scout leader I'm in the wilderness all the time and must say that this is the very first time in my 52 years of being on this planet that I've been lucky enough to see one of these cats in its natural habitat and not in captivity!
I immediately hung up the call and readied my cell phones camera but the shy and illusive animal was already turning her back and walking slowly into the underbrush of the area. As I slowly approached her in an effort to get that once in a lifetime photo she darted off like a bullet thus alarming all of the birds in her path who started taking flight out of the brush as she approached their perch!
All I can say is wow what a fast paced agile animal and what a joy to have been lucky enough to have encountered.

ken nerger said...

Any comments can be e-mailed to me at