Bobcat Ecology in the Most Protected Region of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area: A Comparative Population for Ongoing Urban Bobcat Ecology Research
Lead Biologist: Joanne Moriarty, M.S., R.V.T. [Jonne_Moriarty (at) NPS.gov]
Project Duration: 2008-2011
Lead Agency: National Park Service
Collaborating Agencies: University of California, Davis; Colorado State University; UCLA
Project Overview and Goals: This project was began in an effort to understand how bobcat ecology may differ between urban populations (see project description above) relative to the least urban influenced bobcat populations in the Santa Monica Mountains. The region most projected and most continuous (ie., least fragmented by urban development and roads) is Point Mugu State Park. This State Park represents the best region to understand our local bobcats's population dynamics and ecology if urban development was not present around Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. This project has involved the capture, radio-collaring/ear-tagging, and sample collection from around 20 bobcats and data is presently being analyzed for a preliminary comparison of urban vs. core (ie., natural, continous) habitat bobcat ecology. Blood and tissue samples collected during captures contribute to the graduate student research on disease susceptibility project. A few questions we hope to address using the comparative urban bobcat data set described in the 'Urban Bobcat Study' include:
1) Are movement patterns for urban bobcats different than bobcats in Point Mugu State Park? Patterns of interest include when they are most active (day vs. night), distances they travel, whether Pt. Mugu bobcats stay only in the State Park or venture into nearby urban regions, home range size, and home range overlap between both same and opposite sexes.
2) What is the survival rate for these animals and what are the sources of mortality for them?
4) To what diseases are these bobcats exposed?
6) Are these bobcats reproducing and how do litter sizes and health compare to those of urban bobcats?