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Bobcat Sightings Increasing In Ohio As Species Makes Comeback

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State wildlife officials are reporting Ohio’s once-threatened bobcat population is making a comeback due to laws protecting the cats. Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources says residents report nearly 200 sightings of the animals each year.

Division of Wildlife spokesperson Jamey Emmert says the resurgence is good news for Ohio’s ecosystem, because of the state’s lack of apex predators.

“The numbers are small in comparison to what they were when Ohio was a much more natural state,” Emmert says. “To have bobcats on the landscape is part of a natural and healthy ecosystem. They eat a lot of small animals that humans don’t want to have around, like mice and other rodents.”

According to the state, bobcats in Ohio “prefer wooded areas, especially early successional habitats in the vicinity of reclaimed strip mined areas.” Bobcats, which are up to three times as large as an average housecat, primarily hunt and eat birds and small mammals but can hunt deer as well.

Emmert says bobcat activity is highest in Southeast Ohio. The species was removed from Ohio’s list of threatened species in 2014.