Date of Award:

11-2017

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Wildland Resources

Advisor/Chair:

Julie K. Young

Abstract

Urban landscapes are quickly replacing native habitat around the world. As wildlife and people increasingly overlap in their shared space and resources, so does the potential for human-wildlife conflict, especially with predators. Bobcats (Lynx rufus) are a top predator in several urban areas across the United States and a potential contributor to human-carnivore conflicts. This study evaluated the movements and habitat use of bobcats in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Texas metroplex. Spatial data were collected from 10 bobcats via Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) for approximately one year. Average home range size was 4.60 km2 (n=9, SE=0.99 km2) for all resident bobcats, 3.48 km2 (n=5, SE=1.13 km2) for resident females, and 6.00 km2 (n=4, SE=1.61 km2) for resident males. Resource selection function (RSF) models show that bobcats avoid areas close to and far from grasslands and low-medium development, while selecting for these areas at intermediate distances. Bobcats also selected areas closer to developed open space, agricultural areas, and railroads. In addition, camera trap data analyzed with spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models informed by the RSF results estimated a population density of 0.64 bobcats/km2 (SE = 0.22). Bobcats in DFW have significantly smaller home ranges and occur at higher densities compared to rural bobcat populations. Home ranges were also slightly smaller and densities higher than the most closely similar peri-urban bobcat studies. These differences likely arise due to the abundant urban prey species the DFW landscape provides despite limited space and habitat for bobcats. The dense urban development surrounding this population of bobcats may also discourage dispersing from the area, and contributing to higher densities. These results provide information to facilitate management of urban bobcats by providing new insight into how bobcats live amidst people in urban areas.

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