First Bobcat in 100 Years Spotted on Georgia Island

Jekyll Island may have solution to its deer problem
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2014 12:24 AM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2014 1:33 AM CST
First Bobcat in 100 Years Spotted on Georgia Island
Tourists walk the south beach of Jekyll Island, Ga.   (AP Photo/Stephen Morton, File)

Not long after authorities recommended hiring sharpshooters to thin out herds of white-tailed deer on Georgia's Jekyll Island, a more natural solution was spotted: Remote-sensing cameras set up to measure the deer population captured images of a lone bobcat, the first of its kind known to have been on the wildlife-rich island for more than a century, reports the Florida Times-Union. There had been rumors in recent years of bobcat sightings, but the only previous evidence of their presence on the island was a photograph from the early 1900s showing bobcat pelts hanging in the island gamekeeper's cabin.

"They're such secretive animals, it could be this one and others have been out here for some time," the island's conservation director says. But while it's possible that the elusive animals could have been hiding out on the island for many years, the bobcat in the photos may be a young male looking for territory who swam to the island or walked up the 5-mile causeway, researchers wrote at Jekyll Island after the sightings this fall. Follow-up research that involved checking animal tracks around bait failed to produce any more evidence of bobcats, so researchers believe their numbers are very small and hope there's at least one breeding pair. (In California, meanwhile, state authorities have banned bobcat-, fox-, and coyote-killing contests.)

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