DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is easing off the collection of information on bobcats and otters in the state as it appears the two species are doing well.
DNR furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer says they had been collecting teeth samples from trappers who caught the animals. “To keep an eye on the age distribution of otters and bobcats. Make sure we were not over harvesting those species. So, for now we are taking a break from doing that,” he says.
Evelsizer says they will still keep an eye on the populations in other ways. “We see either otters or bobcats dip and start to go down with their population then we’d start asking them to collect keys for aging purposes again to see what kind of age distribution we have,” Evelsizer says.
Evelsizer says the re-emergence of both bobcats and otters is a good thing for the state. “They’re considered to be a basically a wildlife success story for both of them, otter and bobcats are both doing well,” he says. “Bobcats came back into Iowa on their own and otters were reintroduced into Iowa.”
Bobcats got a lot of attention and reports to the DNR as they started showing up more and more in the state. Evelsizer says people seemed to be more used to seeing them now, and it is fun when they are spotted. “They’ll get a lot of neat reports from land owners and homeowners that see them on their trail cameras or their surveillance cameras and stuff and are usually pretty excited to see a bobcat,” he says. “You know, they’re fairly secretive animal and so when they see one on their cameras, they have a chance to see one that was on their property. Maybe it’s a nice day light photo.”
The DNR says otters were reintroduced in Iowa in 1985 and by 2006 had spread statewide. Bobcats had been an endangered species until their numbers started rebounding and a limited bobcat season began in 2007.