February 05, 2015 - 8:29 AM
VERNON - North Okanagan residents spotted an increasing number of bobcats in recent years.
Conservation officer Mike Richardson says there have already been 16 bobcat reports since April of 2014. That’s not out of line with the last few years—14 last year and 18 the year before. But it’s a lot more than it used to be. Going back to 2008 and 2009, there were a mere three complaints about bobcats.
“It seems to be on the rise as the years go along,” Richardson says. “I really don’t know the reason for it. We can’t put our finger on it, but there’s been a lot around.”
Just last month, a Kelowna resident found himself face to face with a bobcat stuck inside his garage. A few days later, a bobcat—possibly the same one—was trapped and relocated after killing four chickens.
Deep snow could be playing into it. If bobcats are finding it hard to hunt in the mountains, they’ll travel into the valley bottoms, Richardson says. Easy prey could be another driving factor. While bobcats don’t typically attack humans, they may go after small pets. The biggest bobcat issue in the North Okanagan lately has been with chickens.
“There were a couple complaints in January in Lavington where we trapped a couple of bobcats near a chicken coop and relocated them,” Richardson says. "The reason we relocated these was they were first time offenders, basically."
If you see a bobcat, Richardson advises to scare it off. However, you might also want to take a moment to enjoy what continues to be a relatively rare wildlife sighting.
“You’re lucky to see one. They’re a very neat species,” Richardson says. “They have beautiful coats.”
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