The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimated in 2004 that there were 700,000 to 1.5 million adult bobcats living in the United States. Considering that only four states have even attempted to estimate the size of their bobcat populations, there is no evidence to validate this ballpark figure or to justify the agency’s belief that the population is even larger today. With significantly more bobcats being killed now than even five years ago, claims by most states and the FWS that these bobcat populations are stable or increasing are not credible. By contrast, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s 2006 Red List of Threatened Species indicates that bobcat populations are in decline. The bobcat is one of many species whose future may rest on the outcome of this summer’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meeting, since its Appendix II protections are now at stake (see story, pages 8-9).
Photo by Susan C. Morse