New information on WIU bobcats targets hunters

WIU bobcat courtesy of Ed Davis.

You might remember hearing about the grant that one Tri-State University received last fall to study bobcats.

Months later Western Illinois University Professor Chris Jacques has a message he wants you to hear.

"If they see a bobcat with a collar on it, if they have a trail camera photo of a bobcat with a collar on it, please contact us," said Jacques, a professor of biological sciences.

Jacques leads the research on bobcats in the Tri-States.

This is made possible because of a $100,000 grant awarded to the university by the state last fall.

Jacques wants your help to find some of the tagged cats.

"These cats again are moving and we just cannot keep up with them," Jacques explained.

Four of 23 collared cats have gone missing.

Jacques wants you to know if you're out hunting for bobcats and see one, shoot it.

"If it's an animal that they were going to shoot or legally harvest in the first place, then go ahead," Jacques said.

Jacques is now onto the next phase of research--studying the survival of bobcats.

The goal is to keep the study from being compromised.

"Don't let that radio collar influence your decision to shoot that bobcat, trap that bobcat, or not...We're trying to refine the estimates that we're obtaining," said Jacques.

Until then, Jacques says he will continue to connect the pieces and develop a viable population estimate for the state of Illinois.

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