#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 (2018)
  • Catherine Dennison, Furbearer Biology, Ohio DNR
  • 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, Ashlynn Canode, Madeline Kenyon

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:

Dyck., M., E. Wyza, and V.D. Popescu (accepteda review of competitive interactions between bobcats (Lynx rufus) and coyotes (Canis latrans) in North American studies. Mammal Review

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. link

Bencin, H. L. 2018. Challenges for conserving terrestrial carnivores in road-dense landscapes. MSc Thesis, Ohio University, Athens OH

Popescu, V.D., M. Kenyon, R. Brown, M. Dyck, S. Prange, W. Peterman and C. Dennison (in prep.) Habitat connectivity and resource selection in an expanding US Midwest bobcat population

Dyck, M., K.T. Shoemaker, C. Dennison and V.D. Popescu (in prep) Effects of harvesting and road mortality on bobcat population trajectory.

Progress to date (April 2021):

  • ongoing: development of a spatial PVA model with collaborator Dr. Kevin Shoemaker (University of Nevada, Reno)
  • ongoing: DNA analyses of hair (2017 samples) and scat (2018-2019 samples): carnivore ID and bobcat samples genotyping
  • ongoing: development of  habitat suitability and connectivity model for bobcats in Ohio
  • April 2021 – PhD candidate Marissa Dyck co-authors a literature review of bobcats and coyote interactions in North America
  • April 2020 – wrapped up 100+ necropsies of roadkill bobcats collected by Ohio DNR wildlife officers (demographic data collection and diet); age analysis was based on tooth cementum at Matson’s Lab
  • 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