The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a wide-spread feline predator occurring throughout the continental United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico. While bobcats are found over a large part of North America, there is little information regarding its distribution and population in South Dakota. Therefore a collaborative of South Dakota State University, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, and the National Park Service has been formed to gain a better understanding of bobcat ecology in the various ecosystems of South Dakota. More specifically, this project hopes to evaluate habitat selection and home range of bobcats, determine their food habits, estimate their population size, and make recommendations for landscape and population management of bobcats in South Dakota.
NPS Photo by Kelly Browson
To help address these questions, bobcats are currently being captured in Wind Cave National Park and the surrounding National Forest Land. These cats are being fitted with GPS collars that record where the bobcat has been seven times a day. This data will be used to better understand the home range and movements of bobcats in the black hills area. At this time there are four collared bobcats calling Wind Cave their home.