One hears a whisper now and then in Morrow County. It was not the usual symphony of freshly risen frogs in the swamp, nor was it the eerie chorus of the local coyotes packing up and hunting freely in the dark. No, this is a more feline sound. Perchance is it the shadow of the once prevalent and elusive bobcat?
On the heels of recent unconfirmed sightings in the Marengo area, Morrow County citizens are beginning to wonder if the cat is making a comeback.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (ODNR), the bobcat has made a resurgence in the state in recent years and was taken off the endangered species list as of July 2014. Extensive hunting and loss of habitat ran off the native cat off in 1850, but now the bobcat is a government agency protected animal.
In 1997 the Division of Wildlife started a program to monitor the cat in Ohio. Still, according to the ODNR website, Morrow County has no record of confirmed or, “verified,” sightings in recent years and has given Morrow County a rating of, “Rare/Absent,” for Bobcats. (http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/species-guide-index/mammals/bobcat)
In order for a sighting to be, “verified,” the ODNR states: “Verified reports represent positive identification of a bobcat, usually as a result of the animal being killed on the road, photographed, or incidentally trapped.”
To assist ODNR in keeping accurate records, sighting reports can be made through email communication to: Suzie Prange at [email protected] The information needed is location and date, and any proof with pictures – actual cat, track, etc.
If you feel that you have a bobcat in your area, don’t be alarmed. Bobcats are non-aggressive, although every wild animal is exactly that, wild, and should be treated with fear and respect. If you have physical evidence or think that you have seen a bobcat, please contact the ODNR and send us an email at [email protected] In the interest of safety, do not attempt to capture the bobcat, rather help us to preserve it and spread awareness that the cat is back.