#RealBobcatsofOhio

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This page dedicated to the project “Using multiple data sources to develop management strategies for the recovering bobcat (Lynx rufus) population in Ohio” funded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ($245,000).

Given the proposed trapping season, our work has been featured in the news here, here, here, and here.

Project team:

  • Dr. Viorel Popescu, PI
  • Marissa Dyck, PhD student
  • Heidi Bencin, MSc student (defense date: December 2018)
  • Dr. Suzanne Prange, Adjunct Faculty, Ohio University
  • Dr. Steve Spear, The Wilds
  • Field and lab crew: Julia Golias, Ryan Brown, Devon Cottrill, Connor Hall, Hannah Kopp, Ryan Wagner, Andrew Travers, Christine Hanson, Megan Sweeney, Maddy Back

Project objectives:

(1) Determine predictors of road mortality, and the overall risk of road mortality for the bobcat population in Ohio;

(2) Characterize the rate of expansion of the bobcat population in Ohio, evaluate current occupied range, and predict future areas for expansion,

(3) Identify source and sink areas in Ohio to inform management via trapping;

(4) Evaluate bobcat density in two core area in S and SE Ohio;

(5) Integrate existing and new information to predict population trajectories and acceptable trapping levels using a Spatial Population Viability Analysis framework.

Publications:

Bencin, H. L., S. Prange, C. Rose, and V. D. Popescu. 2019. Roadkill and space use data predict vehicle-strike hotspots and mortality rates in a recovering bobcat (Lynx rufus) population. Scientific Reports 9:15391. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-50931-5)

Progress to date (November 2019):

  • ongoing: necropsies of roadkill bobcats collected by Ohio DNR wildlife officers (demographic data and diet)
  • ongoing: literature search and data gathering on bobcat vital rates in OH and surrounding states for the development of a Ohio bobcat population model
  • ongoing: DNA analyses of hair (2017 samples) and scat (2018-2019 samples): carnivore ID and bobcat samples genotyping
  • January 2019 – Viorel Popescu presents on predictors of bobcat mortality in Ohio at the 2019 Ohio Wildlife Conference (invited talk)
  • December 2018¬†– Heidi Bencin MSc thesis defense!!! Manuscripts: Road mortality in Ohio bobcats (submitted to Scientific Reports) and co-occurrence and multi-method occupancy modeling (in prep.)
  • June 2018 to April 2019 – bobcat scat collection in 2 areas of OH: Zaleski and Vinton State Forests, and AEP ReCreation Lands
  • July 2018 – Heidi Bencin presents her work on bobcats road morality predictors at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology, Toronto

MOULTRIE DIGITAL GAME CAMERA

  • January – April 2018: road mortality risk analysis using road mortality data and GPS telemetry data (Heidi Bencin thesis)
  • January – April 2018: spatial relations between verified sightings data and road mortality data (undergraduate student Ryan Brown)
  • June 2017 – April 2018: evaluating habitat use by bobcats and other carnivores using camera trapping on public lands in SE Ohio (63 sites)
  • June – November 2017: evaluating density of bobcats from hair DNA; 180 snares resulted in 600+ hair samples, currently being analyzed in collaboration with Dr. Steve Spear at The Wilds