Bobcat Study- Please help.

On December 1, 2018 Gary Jarman and I met with a group of students from OSU doing a study on Bobcats in Oklahoma. We were asked about habitat and how to collect hair samples. They have asked for help from the OFBA to help with the study. Our help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, R.C. Edgar.

A REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

Background:
My lab at Oklahoma State University is conducting a large-scale study of Oklahoma bobcats in conjunction with the University of Central Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Resources and the ODWC Furbearer Biologist, Jerrod Davis.  As one of the most sought-after furbearer species in the state, this research will result in a great deal of information of use to management and harvest of this resource.  Recruiting students from OSU, Southeast Oklahoma State University, and Southwest Oklahoma State University, we will collect hair samples using hair snares in the students’ home counties over the winter break.  This simple, inexpensive sampling method will give us state-wide information on bobcat distribution and population trends over time.  In addition, we will be using hair snares to collect DNA samples for genetic capture-recapture analysis in 3 intensive study areas – James Collins WMA in eastern Oklahoma, and Packsaddle and Sandy Sanders WMA in western Oklahoma.  A very interesting side project, conducted by colleagues at the University of Central Oklahoma, is to address subspecies differences between eastern and western Oklahoma bobcat populations.  Differences in spotting patterns/intensity are known to occur in eastern vs. western bobcats.  Our interest is to determine whether there are genetically distinct subspecies, and if so, whether there is a hybrid zone in central Oklahoma.  There is even some older literature that suggests a third subspecies might occur in south-central Oklahoma and Texas.

Request:
When you are trapping this season, we would be grateful if you could save (frozen) the tongue of any bobcat harvested.  This tissue would give us a tremendous amount of genetic material, from different locations across the state.  It would be important also to have the location (county, at least) in which the animal was harvested.  This must be associated with each sample. We can arrange to pick up the samples or have them shipped at the end of the trapping season. Please keep all samples separated and frozen.

Thank you for considering our request and contributing to this study of an important Oklahoma resource.

Sincerely,

Sue Fairbanks
Dept. of Natural Resource Ecology and Management
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
sue.fairbanks@okstate.edu