Spot a bobcat? URI researchers want to know about it

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KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Researchers at the University of Rhode Island and the state Department of Environmental Manage are asking the public to report any bob cat sightings.

Reported sightings and roadkill incidents indicate bobcat numbers are on the rise in the region, according to URI Research Associate Amy Mayer.

Mayer and Charles Brown, a wildlife biologist with the DEM, have been studying the animals since 2015.

They want more information on habitat usage, distribution, and population numbers of the region’s only wild cat.

Mayer said reports of recent and regular bobcat sightings will help her identify the best places to set up her traps.

“One of the cats we caught last season was an animal that a homeowner had seen on their property a bunch of times,” she said. “So we put a trap there and caught it on the first night. Having known locations like that is easier than having us blindly put out traps wherever we think looks good. Having records of where people see them is really useful.”

Researchers said the animals have been sighted in nearly every community in mainland Rhode Island – with hot spots in South Kingstown, Westerly and Foster. However, they’re also known to occasionally travel through densely populated areas of Cranston, Warwick and West Warwick.

“Based on the sighting reports so far, we don’t think they’re super densely populated in the state at this time, but we know there are pockets where they seem to be common,” Mayer said.

Anyone who observes a bobcat in Rhode Island or captures a bobcat image on a trail camera is encouraged to report the sighting to Mayer through a form on her website at http://uriwildlifegenetics.org/bobcat-sighting or via email at agottfried@uri.edu.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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