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Researchers hope to learn more about urban bobcats

Bobcats in Tucson
Posted at 9:37 PM, Jul 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 17:25:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — In the areas of Tucson where there is the perfect mix of the urban area and wildlands, you’ll find researchers from Bobcats in Tucson setting up cameras.

“That gives us an idea of where the bobcats are in the area," said Kerry Baldwin, researcher.

The research group is looking to answer why bobcats are choosing to live in developed areas to create guidelines on what to do and what not to do to attract the cats.

"We are putting satellite collars on bobcats and we're tracking them for the next three years just to see where they're going, what are they doing, when are they having their kittens, [and] where are they having their kittens,” he explained.

Researchers have the capability to track nine bobcats with the accessories.

They said the trapping and collaring process takes no more than an hour.

“The trap is a humane box trap. So, there's no damage at all to the bobcat,” said Baldwin.

Researchers said the collar gives them the ability to track the bobcat at certain times of the day.

While the team can only track so many by the collar, they are asking for the community's help in tracking sightings around town.

That's one request Gale Sherman, a west side homeowner, was happy to answer.

“I live with bobcats, all year long. I don't have any problems with them,” she said.

Now Sherman is dedicated to the project. She even installed a camera on her property to track bobcats in the area.

“I only run the camera at night from about 8 o’clock when there is no sunlight and I stop it at about 5 in the morning,” she said.

Over the past eight months, one thing researchers have learned is that bobcats are giving birth at the top of mountains and then bringing their kittens down to live in the more urban areas. They said when the fall approaches they will dig into bobcats who don’t have access to mountain tops.

"Based on the reports that we get from people, I think they have their kittens on the rooftops, they have them under people's sheds, [and] sometimes under people's porches,” said Cheryl Mollohan, researcher.

If you spot a bobcat in your neighborhood, you can report the activity by sending an email to