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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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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ft. Worth's Tarrant County has been home to a 15 month Bobcat Study which has revealed that the Bobs pose no threat to the 220,000 people living there...................With plenty of rodents and small mammal prey available, the Tarrant County Bobcats are able to carve out a living on smaller home ranges than those Cats living in more wild environs..............."Male bobcat home ranges averaged 1,235 urban acres"......... "One homebody male never left a 640-acre area while another roamed across 6,417 acres".......... "The smallest female home range was 160 acres and the largest was 1,559 acres"............Texas is thought to have the largest Bobcat population in the lower 48 with an estimated 200,000 of the felines calling the Lone Star home.............Urban dwelling Bobs "actively selected habitat that was less than 20 percent developed and avoided habitat that was more than 20 percent developed"........Like Coyotes, Bobcats living in urban locales are excellent pest control carnivores, eating rats, squirrels, birds and rabbits...........They also feed on non native nutria, an invasive species found along waterways

Cool cats: Urban bobcats roam secretly, they avoid humans, shy from pets

Many Dallas-Fort Worth area residents share their neighborhoods with wild carnivores so elusive they are seldom seen.

A Tarrant County, Texas urban Bobcat with 
a Squirrel meal in its posession

An urban bobcat study conducted in Tarrant County indicates that the wild cats readily adapt to an environment that includes more than 220,000 people, fast cars and housing developments. The 15-month study also concluded that bobcats pose no threat to human pets.
The research was done in coordination with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the USDA Wildlife Service and the Welder Wildlife Foundation. Julie Golla, a masters degree student from Utah State, led the project on roughly 18,300 acres that included portions of Fort Worth, Bedford, Euless and Hurst.
She trapped 11 bobcats and equipped them with VHF transmitters and GPS trackers. Three of the research cats were killed during the study -- one by traffic, one by a train and the other by a gunshot wound.
Trail cam photos documented kittens successfully raised in the urban environment. Researchers extrapolated 42 total bobcats in the study area. The urban cats were found to have a much smaller home range than their country counterparts.
The male bobcat home ranges averaged 1,235 urban acres. One homebody male never left a 640-acre area while another roamed across 6,417 acres. The smallest female home range was 160 acres and the largest was 1,559 acres.
Though they're hard to count because they are so secretive, Texas probably has more bobcats than any other state. Michael Tewes of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute is one of the nation's acknowledged experts on wild cats. Tewes estimates about 200,000 bobcats in Texas with the highest densities in South Texas. Portions of southern Texas support as many as one bobcat per square kilometer (about 247 acres).
South Texas is a bobcat hotspot because the region's human population is relatively small, and South Texas habitat includes vast ranches that support an excellent prey base as well as cover for the small but efficient predators. The average adult bobcat weighs about 20 pounds.
"One of the most important goals of the study was to document how bobcats that live in urban settings selected for or avoided anthropogenic (influenced by humans) habitat," TPWD biologist Richard Heilbrun said.
"The big take-home message is that urban bobcats are very skilled at navigating their environment. They actively selected habitat that was less than 20 percent developed and avoided habitat that was more than 20 percent developed."
The urban bobcats hunted on golf courses, greenbelts, gravel pits and creek or river corridors. They mostly avoided people, traveling through neighborhoods at night. They used sewers, underground drainages and narrow, treed, fence lines to move undetected.
Wildlife officials hope the bobcat information will encourage more city planners to leave undeveloped wildlife corridors.
"There was no evidence that urban bobcats were eating trash, pets or pet food," said Heilbrun. "We did have one collared male that found a collection of backyard rabbits and a nearby backyard with chickens. Both owners allowed their animals to roam freely in the backyard and didn't lock them up at night."
The bobcat still established a normal home range, indicating that he was not relying on backyard livestock as a primary food source. Heilbrun said the researchers did a cursory examination of urban bobcat diets.
"What we found lined up very well with what rural bobcats eat," he said. "Basically, they eat rats, squirrels, birds and cottontail rabbits. We found a road-killed bobcat that had 22 roof rats in its stomach. Another bobcat dined on nutria, an invasive species. It turns out that bobcats are a pretty good municipal pest control."
A website,, has been created for citizen naturalists to report carnivore sightings. The project has over 1,100 observations from nearly 250 people.
Besides bobcats, the urban naturalists have reported coyotes, red foxes, gray foxes, raccoons, ringtails, river otters, mink and eastern spotted skunks (a species of greatest conservation need in Texas).
"The ringtail, otter and mink were surprises," said Heilbrun. "Having more eyes and ears in the field can increase our understanding of these animals."

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