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Bobcat sightings on the rise in Ohio

Posted on June 5, 2013

Frank HincheyVerified bobcat sightings are on the rise in Ohio, especially in the southeastern part of the Buckeye State.

In 2012, Ohio DNR biologists verified 169 sightings in 31 counties, notably in Noble County and adjacent counties in southeast Ohio, the ODNR reported in a news release.

Counties where bobcats were verified in high numbers were Noble, 23, Monroe, 21, and Morgan, 18, Guernsey, 14 and Belmont and Washington, 12. In Athens County, home of the Ohio University "Bobcats," two verified bobcats were recorded.

It marks the third year that bobcat sightings have increased. In 2011, 136 bobcat sightings were verified and 106 verified sighting were recorded in 2010.

Bobcats, which are designated as a threatened species and protected, disappeared in Ohio about 1850 as Ohio was settled. Bobcat sightings picked up again in the 1960s and have been verified in 43 counties since 1970.From 1970 through 2012, there have been 796 verified  reports of bobcats in Ohio, according to a report issued by the DOW's Athens office.

The bobcat population in Ohio is now estimated about 750-1,000, according to the DOW's Vicki Ervin.

The DOW has sent two bobcat kittens found in Noble and Muskingum counties (Ohio Outdoors News, June 7) to a wildlife center in Kirtland, Ohio, to be raised by staff for eventual return to the wild.

Since 2006, confirmation of bobcats in Ohio have increased. In 2012, most bobcat sightings were documented by trail cameras. Ohio of Division of Wildlife biologists use remote cameras and scent stations to confirm bobcat sightings.

GPS radio collars are also  used to track the location of bobcats after catching and releasing them., according to the news release.

To report a bobcat sighting, the DOW suggests calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or sending an email wildInfo@dnr.state.oh.us. 

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