Research on Bobcats and Urbanization in the Tucson Mountain District, Saguaro National Park
January 2008 - December 2016
- Arizona Game & Fish Dept.
Although the public has a high awareness of bobcats and the species has been thoroughly studied in other parts of its range, there is a paucity of research on bobcats in urban and arid environments. Like other mid-sized carnivores, bobcats play an integral role in the biologically rich Sonoran Desert ecosystem. We will examine the relationship between bobcats living in Tucson Mountain District of Saguaro National Park and those living in the surrounding urban interface and to gather basic ecological information on both. This project will fill in that gap in our knowledge of the species and provide a basis for conservation of bobcats and other native cats in the Park and in other urban areas. Specifically, this project will conduct a thorough pre-research literature review, evaluate field and genetic techniques, identify discrete research objectives, and assess bobcat use of the Tucson Mountain District and surrounding lands using noninvasive techniques (field observation and genetic sampling). In addition to the scientific objectives, this project is designed to create a model for conducting wildlife research at parks, in collaboration with our NPS and County Park partners, and in close proximity to urban areas. In addition, the species may be a model for studying urban impacts, because it appears to both benefit and be harmed by human encroachment. In addition, and just as importantly, we plan to design and create a model for involving the public in urban wildlife research by working closely with park neighbors, visitors, and other governmental and private entities.