Good News: New Jersey Bobcat Population On The Rise
One of the animals on New Jersey's Endangered Species list has seen population growth and entering a new year, these wild animals are overcoming the challenges of the changing world around them here in the Garden State.
Since 1991, the state of New Jersey has listed Bobcats as an endangered species after extensive efforts were made to save the population during the 1970s and 1980s. Thanks to the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife Reintroduction Project, the Bobcat population has rebounded with a recent study stating there are 200 to 400 of these animals currently living in the Garden State.
The Bobcats are naturally shy creatures who steer away from humans and other populations of animals. Due to the loss of their natural habitats because of deforestation and road construction leading to vehicular animal accidents, the Nature Conservancy estimates that 20 percent of New Jersey Bobcat deaths are because of vehicular fatalities.
In a New Jersey 101.5 interview with Gretchen Fowles, a New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Biologist, she explained that sightings of the Bobcats in New Jersey have gone up since the 2020 COVID Pandemic with more people going on nature walks:
"Bobcats are restricted mainly to northern New Jersey, but we are seeing more bobcats in recent years....There's very few confirmed records in the past several years south of Route 78. - If folks encounter them, the best thing to do is just give them some space, and in almost every situation they're going to run away."
The importance of Bobcats to New Jersey's Ecosystem is that they are one of only two native animals that hunt White-Tailed Deer. One of the reasons there is such a high concentration of White-Tailed Deer in New Jersey is because there was such a diminished population of natural predators for decades.
The growth of the Bobcat population is some good news as we enter the New Year. Just remember in 2024, no matter how cute they may appear, the Department of Environmental Protection says you should avoid them. When wild animals feel threatened, they can be unpredictable. If you care about these animals, let them live their lives in peace.
12 Animals That Are Illegal to Own as Pets in New Jersey
Gallery Credit: Heather DeLuca