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HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is asking individuals to keep an eye out for special bobcat tracking collars while spending time outdoors this month. The request is part of the Agency’s ongoing Bobcat Research Project, a long-term study that began in 2017 and aims to investigate bobcat habitat use across Connecticut.
From November 2018 through March 2019, 50 bobcats were live-trapped throughout the state and fitted with global positioning system (GPS) monitoring collars to track their movements. The collars do not harm the animals and are programmed to fall off after being worn for 300 days. The last of the 2018-2019 monitoring season collars are expected to fall off over the next month or so. Once the collars detach from the bobcats, they continue to transmit a signal until they are recovered by Wildlife Division staff. In some cases, collared bobcats in Connecticut have moved across state lines into New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. If anyone happens to find a collar in their yard or while walking in the woods before Wildlife Division staff recover it, please contact the Wildlife Division at 860-424-3045 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biologists will use the GPS collar data to compare the State’s bobcat populations in rural and suburban areas. “The information gained from this research will aid in the future conservation and management of bobcats in Connecticut and elsewhere,” explained Jason Hawley, the DEEP wildlife biologist leading the project. DEEP staff are particularly interested in looking at how successful bobcats are at reproduction and survival in different environments.
Residents are also encouraged to report any observations of bobcats, especially ones that have been marked with yellow ear tags (include the numbers on the tags if visible). Reports can be made on the DEEP website, via the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page, or by emailing email@example.com.