Bobcats are very well-known wild cats and mainly reside in the North American continent. These cats show some resemblance with house cats but bobcats are larger in size and almost 41 inches in length and weigh around 30 pounds. These cats like to attack small mammals like rodents, mice, and rats but they could also prey on large animals like deer.
There is a huge abundance of bobcat population in the North American region but there are some areas where their population is endangered. In this article, we are going to dig deep into this issue. We will highlight all the areas where the population of the bobcat needs to be conserved on an urgent basis.
Let’s explore if the population of the bobcat is protected or endangered anywhere in the world.
Predators of bobcats
Bobcats are predators as well as prey at the same time. Bobcats prey on many small mammals like rats, rabbits, rodents, lizards, and some large animals like deer. There are also several predators of the bobcats. Most prominent among these predators are human beings. Humans are actively making settlements in the habitats of the bobcats and resultantly destroying their dens and food resources.
Human beings are also doing a lot of deforestation in several areas where the bobcat population is abundant. Many large animals like cougars and mountain lions also like to hunt bobcats for a source of their food. There is a very rare chance that these animals hunt down bobcats as bobcats are good runners and they can also jump as high as 12 feet.
Moreover, these animals are also great in hiding and these wild cats can easily camouflage themselves in wooded and rocky areas. In this case, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint these cats. Baby bobcats or kittens are the most vulnerable to predators. Even small animals like hawks, foxes, and owls can hunt down small kittens. Bobcats are also very good predators and they can easily hunt down animals like rodents, sheep, dogs, goats, rodents, and feral cats.
Are bobcats endangered?
Overall, the population of bobcats is not endangered in the world. According to the international union for conservation of nature (IUCN), bobcats are the “least concern” in the list of endangered animals. Overall, the population of the bobcat is very stable in the world.
There is almost 1 million bobcat population in the world. However, in some states and countries, the population of bobcats is decreasing very rapidly. People are not only hunting bobcats for meat but also for commercial reasons like sports or due to their spotted coats. There are not any severe regulations regarding the hunting of these animals.
Anyone can hunt these cats in the countries like Canada, USA, and Mexico. In North America, people are mainly hunting these cats for warm fur. That’s the population of bobcats is decreasing very rapidly in some states. It has become the concern of wildlife regulators and the administration of these states.
Where are bobcats endangered?
Bobcats don’t come under the endangered category. They are being protected in some states. There is a total of 10 states in the USA where these animals are being protected. The most critical states are Ohio, Indiana, and New Jersey. In New Jersey, it has been estimated there are only 250 to 300 bobcats who have been left and all the remaining cats have been eliminated.
Once the Mexican bobcats were the most endangered species. However, the population of these cats has stabilized since 2005. Now, the population is considered healthy and stable. In Florida, the population of the bobcat is also declining very rapidly due to the targeting of pythons but these cats don’t come under the endangered category.
There are no exact numbers available about the bobcat population in Florida but they were spotted in almost 68 counties of Florida. However, there is no correct estimation available about the population of the bobcat in the Florida region.
In New Jersey, the bobcats were being hunted on a very large scale since the arrival of European settlements. Deforestation was done on a very large scale at that many large areas of forests were cleared for the sake of lumber, charcoal, and fuel. Bobcats were also being killed on roads. Gradually, the population of the bobcats was continuously plummeting, and finally in June 1991 bobcats were declared endangered species in the state.
Why are bobcats endangered in some areas?
Bobcats mainly reside in the North American continent. In this continent, most of the population exists in several states of the USA. Overall, the population is quite stable but it is decreasing very rapidly in some areas very rapidly. The biggest reason behind the decline of the bobcat population in some areas is overhunting and the devastation of the bobcat’s natural habitat.
Bobcats like to reside in wooded or forest-type areas but deforestation is done by human beings on a very large scale due to commercial reasons which is a direct threat to the existence of the bobcat population. Bobcats like to live in far-away areas where they would not interact with human beings but the expansive settlements of human beings are a direct threat to their natural habitat.
Owing to this, they could not find proper shelter and food in the snowy or winter season. Secondly, the population is also declining due to the overhunting of bobcats. This hunting is mainly done under the guise of commercial reasons as the fur of the bobcats is very lucrative from a commercial perspective. Regulatory laws regarding overhunting are not being implemented in letter and spirit in some of the states.
In almost 38 US states and 7 Canadian provinces, bobcats are being legally harvested for the fur trade. In Mexico, it is being hunted as a trophy animal. Bobcat has also become the most popular wild cat in the skin trade. Most of the supply of skin comes from the USA. Pelts of the bobcats are also quite famous in the growing economies of Asia.
Bobcat kittens are also dying in a very huge proportion as they have to face food scarcity because of the unavailability of their diet including rabbits, rats, mice, squirrels, and birds. They are very few young bobcats who survive until they are weaned from their mother’s milk.
According to one study from a scientist in California, the main source of mortality of the bobcat has also been diseases like Notoedric mange, feline scabies, and Anti-coagulant poison in rats. When the experiments were done on a large number of bobcats, most of them were infected by this poison. It has also been found that 51% of the collard bobcats were dying after eating poisoned rodents. Other animals like cougars were also infected by this disease.
How bobcats are being protected in some areas?
In several areas where the population of the bobcat was decreasing very rapidly is now being recovered. For this purpose, several initiatives have been taken in several states.
In New Jersey, where the population of the bobcat was close to extinction in the 1970s. For the preservation of this beautiful creature, 24 bobcats were first introduced from Maine State to Northern New Jersey. These cats gradually intermixed with the other animals in the states. After some time a protected greenway was established for providing a good environment for the bobcat’s kittens where they can get proper nourishment.
Now, they have established a proper “bobcat alley” spanning almost 400,000 acres of land on the two great mountains of New Jersey. Other than bobcats, they are also protecting other endangered animals like foxes and bears.
Frequently asked questions
Bobcats are well-known wild cats. These cats are being hunted or killed on a very large scale due to their large population. Owing to this, it has been feared that the population of the bobcat is endangered in some states. Indeed, these cats are not fully endangered species and are only the least concerned in the list of endangered species on IUCN. However, several regulations are being implemented in several countries and states for the protection of these precious wild cats.
Izzy is an experienced ranch worker who has a passion for exploring nature and getting up close to wildlife. With her connections to various animal organizations, Izzy is well-versed in animal care and rehabilitation.