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Bobcat - March 2003 Species of the Month

The Bobcat (Felis refus) was the March Species of the Month in honor of the 30th Bobcat faceAnniversary of the New Jersey Endangered Species Conservation Act and the formation of DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP).

New Jersey's bobcat population first experienced declines in the mid-1800s as forests were cleared for lumber, fuel, charcoal and agricultural use. Between 1950 and 1970, reports of bobcat sightings and mortalities persisted, but by the early 1970s they were thought to be extirpated (locally extinct) from the State.

In 1972 the species gained legal protection when it was classified as a game species with a closed season. Between 1978 and 1982 the Division conducted a restoration project through which 24 bobcats were trapped in Maine and released in northern NJ. In 1991 the bobcat was added to New Jersey's list of endangered wildlife, where they remain. Current management efforts involve the use of GPS transmitters that allow biologists to monitor bobcat locations in order to determine habitat ranges and preferences.

Bobcat on snowy slope

The Bobcat Challenge

  • Bobcats use a wide variety of habitat types and occupy large parcels of land relatively free from human habitation and alteration.

  • They also require suitable travel corridors to allow for individuals to move between these parcels of land.

  • Bobcats are found primarily in the northern counties of Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren. Unconfirmed reports have been received from eastern, central and southern counties as well.
Bobcats - Facts of Interest
  • Bobcats are feline carnivores and prefer habitat that provides dense cover (undergrowth, conifers, thickets, caves and ledges).

  • The species gets its common name from its stubby, or "bobbed", tail.

  • They have tawny to gray-brown fur with spots and streaks, and a whitish-colored underside. They are known for having ruffs of fur on both sides of their face and small tufts on their ears.

  • Bobcats are active throughout the year and do not hibernate - their peak periods of daily activity occur around dawn and dusk.
Bobcat on rocks
Ways You Can Help

Report all bobcat sightings to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Endangered and Nongame Species Program by calling 908-735-8975.

Check-off for Wildlife when completing your state tax return each year! This is a primary funding source for the preservation of the State's endangered and nongame wildlife.

Bobcat tracks
Conserve Wildlife license plate
Order a Conserve Wildlife special interest license plate for your vehicle. It's tax-deductible, with 80 percent of the payment benefiting New Jersey's Endangered and Nongame Species Program.

Want to volunteer? Enjoy giving presentations? Looking for speakers? The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers two opportunities:The Endangered and Nongame Species Program's Speakers Bureau and the Division's Wildlife Conservation Corps. Visit these sites for details.

Additional Sources of Information
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Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: November 19, 2014