This project involves camera surveys and telemetry to establish how bobcats are moving though fragmented habitats.
Introduction: California is becoming increasingly fragmented due to human developments, roads, fencing, and other factors. In Southern California, researchers have found that bobcats on either side of a major freeway are genetically differentiated, due to habitat fragmentation (Riley et al 2006). Many of the bobcats in the study were infested with mange, an unsightly and painful condition caused by burrowing mange mites. Bobcats from the same study also showed varying levels of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure, which increasingly causes mortality in wild felids and other non targeted species. Fragmented habitats present difficulties in connecting populations of bobcats across landscapes for dispersal, reproduction and genetic diversity. The Bay Area Bobcat Project will look at those issues, in addition to population status, mortality factors and health, all of which have not been evaluated in the Bay Area.
Study Objectives: Goals of this study include tracking bobcat movement through fragmented landscapes and identifying barriers that hinder juvenile dispersal within bobcat metapopulations. For pumas it has been found that, in the Central Coast & Peninsular Ranges, pumas are lacking 2 genes (alleles) found in pumas in all other regions (Ernest 2003). The degree to which fragmentation is affecting genetic flow throughout the Bay Area and Central Coast needs to be established for bobcats.
Juvenile bobcats must also disperse out of their parental home ranges to establish their own, which often entails having to navigate through a human altered landscape with a variety of different potential barriers. The data gathered through this study can also determine hotspots where bobcats are routinely being hit on roads to identify areas in which permeability for movement needs to be increased by connectivity designs.
Previous Work to Support Research: The Felidae Conservation Fund launched the Bay Area Puma Project (BAPP), which is the first major study of mountain lions in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was launched in mid-2008 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This research is bringing to light critical information about the region's top predator, so that key conservation objectives can be initiated to preserve this essential member of the ecological web in the Bay Area. Many cats have been fitted with innovative GPS-accelerometer collars to provide new insight into puma biology and behavior.
From 2007 – 2010 the Big Sur Land Trust and Connectivity for Wildlife conducted a regional scale wildlife habitat utilization analysis of four wildlife linkage areas in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County. Within each study area, bobcat natal den areas where identified and bobcat kittens traveling with their mother were recorded by field cameras. Various highway crossing structures were shown to be used by bobcats. Next steps include; finding out how these bobcat are traveling throughout the entire landscape, their genetic status throughout several regions and how these habitats are connected.
Please see slide show above for pictures and video clips of the bobcat families.
Study Goals: Combining telemetry and conducting additional field camera research at these and new study sites will reveal where bobcat juveniles are dispersing, how bobcats are moving on the landscape. Results from the study will identify important connectivity pathways for bobcats for healthy gene flow and healthy populations. Bobcats play a critical role as a mesocarnivore that helps regulate prey populations (Estes et al 2011).
Working in Partnerships to Implement Goals of the Study: The Felidae Conservation Fund, Big Sur Land Trust, Connectivity for Wildlife, and UC Davis Road Ecology Center are working with agencies such as Caltrans, land trusts, and conservation organizations to produce a conservation plan that will implement connectivity designs, land acquisitions strategies, and habitat goals for improving wildlife movement throughout the landscape, and work to maintain healthy bobcat populations.
Study Needs:$7,500 is needed for field cameras and for personnel to set up cameras and enter data.
$12,500 is needed for GPS collars and personnel to work on the telemetry research.
All contributions will be highlighted on the study website as contributions made to support the study.
For more information about this type of research and conservation efforts:
Felidae Conservation Fund: http://felidaefund.org/
Big Sur Land Trust: http://www.bigsurlandtrust.org/
Connectivity for Wildlife: http://www.cfwildlife.com/
UC Davis Road Ecology Center: http://roadecology.ucdavis.edu/
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $20,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on June 23, 2012.
Apr 24, 2012 - Jun 23, 2012 (60 days)
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Pledge $5 or more
You will receive a personal email thanking you for your contribution with an attached digital image of a bobcat taken taken by one of our trail cameras.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $25 or more
You will receive a personal email thanking you for your contribution with 5 attached digital images of different bobcats photographed with our trail cameras. PLUS a free subscription to our digital newsletter to follow the study and results!Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $50 or more
A Bay Area bobcat study mug and a hand-written bobcat card thanking you for your contribution will be sent to you from the project headquarters, PLUS you will receive all of the other incentives listed above.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $100 or more
You will be sent a Bay Area bobcat study t-shirt and a 8 X 10 color photograph of a bobcat printed on quality stock, PLUS you will receive all of the other incentives listed above.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $200 or more
A half day in the field learning how to track bobcats and pumas from skilled trackers and researchers. PLUS a free subscription to our digital newsletter to follow the study and results!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $400 or more
A full day of tracking of tracking bobcats and pumas while learning about different aspects of the research project. . PLUS a free subscription to our digital newsletter to follow the study and results!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $800 or more
Participate in helping during a field day in collaring bobcats. Experience telemetry research in helping the field team and seeing a bobcat first hand. PLUS a free subscription to our digital newsletter to follow the study and results!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012