A bobcat from Iowa has surprised wildlife researchers by turning up somewhere else. Stephanie Koehler is a researcher with Iowa State University who helped tag a bobcat with a GPS tracking device years ago, as part of a wildlife study. It was in Williamson, thirty miles southeast of Des Moines in Lucas County, at the time.
Koehler says the bobcat was caught in a trap in Weeping Water, Nebraska, almost 200 miles away. Koehler says the researchers are intrigued and excited to find out that one of the wildcats had moved that far away. It was an adult male bobcat, she says, that they’d radio-collared in 2003.
Koehler says despite the tagging, they’d lost track of this animal. They were testing some GPS collars for a couple different companies, she says, but the one put on this bobcat had and failed after a couple years of tracking him, and they lost track of where he was at. Koehler says bobcats usually stay pretty close to home and only travel in about a 30-square-mile area. She says it’s remarkable that this animal made it 200 miles away, crossing the Missouri River.
Koehler says it’s likely the cat walked across a bridge. She says it’s "pretty important" to know that bobcats are moving that far and dispersing across states. "That has a lot of impact towards population size and determining that genetic diversity within a population." The trapper who found the animal contacted Nebraska Game and Parks after spotting the collar and tag. The animal’s remains will be sent back to ISU, where researchers will conduct DNA and other tests on it.