Connecticut, parts go which are suburbs of New York City, isn’t a place presently associated with bobcats. That perception should change, as Daniel Figueroa IV reports North America’s most common wildcat has a large, but nearly invisible, home in the Nutmeg state:
If you have, over the last few years, noticed a reduction in the number of deer, raccoons, rats, or other populace critters that hang around the woods and cities of Connecticut, bobcats could be behind it.
The bobcat, or Lynx rufus, is the most common wildcat in North America. And for the last 50 years, those signature tufted ears and furry cheeked felines have gone from near nonexistence in the Nutmeg State to an elusive ubiquity.
“We’re finding out a lot more about them and how they are such an amazing and adaptable animal,” Jason Hawley, a wildlife biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said. “We used to think they needed undisturbed habitat to persist. But through research over the years, we’re finding they’re incredibly adaptable and able to thrive during urban development, which is important because Connecticut development isn’t going anywhere.”
Since 2017, DEEP has used GPS collars and telemetry to track about 150 bobcats throughout the state. Hawley said Connecticut’s urban cores connected by streams and greenspaces have created routes for bobcats to find new hunting grounds. One has even been tracked between New Haven and Bridgeport, where it’s found a veritable feast in an abandoned Remington Arms munitions facility.
“It’s grown into thick, brushy, nasty stuff that you and I would look at and think ‘I don’t want to walk through that,'” Hawley said. “But for bobcat it’s like a little piece of heaven.”
They’re there. On a visit to Connecticut about five years ago, some friends and I saw a bobcat running by the side of the road in a village dating back to the Colonial era.
I’ve yet to see a bobcat in Whitewater, although I’d like to see some here.