Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bobcats on Kiawah

If you have visited Kiawah you have probably spied such wildlife as alligators, turtles, herons, deer, and a variety of other coastal critters. One animal at the top of the Kiawah ecological food chain is the Bobcat. Kiawah and Seabrook Islands play host to the bobcat, though this mammal is in smaller numbers, their role in the coastal ecosystem is crucial to controlling deer and rodent populations.

Several studies have been done with Bobcats on Kiawah. There have been numerous cats that have been tagged with GPS detection colors to monitor location, behavior, and mortality. These cats are constantly tracked to also study the success of repopulation of area bobcats and how the mammals are influenced by the Kiawah community which includes human environmental factors.

I have had the rare fortune of spying upon a bobcat when en route down the pathway to the beach between the Sanctuary grounds and Turtle Point fairway. The cat was no larger than the size of perhaps a midsized canine and seemed very timid as our family strolled down the bike path. Perhaps it was my daughter’s high pitch shouting that sent the cat running for cover.

I have discussed the cats with local residents as well as annual tourists that have claimed to have seen these island inhabitants. While some are timid, there are those cats that will stroll by the back of Island villas and homes with no care in the world as residents look on. I guess I have to spend longer than a week here to be lucky enough to see one of the cats close up.

I have linked a brief video courtesy of National Geographic that demonstrates the tracking done on the Bobcat in the low country habitat.


OurGreatEscape said...

I have a great photo of a rather large bobcat I saw crossing the golf course over on Seabrook Island.

Too bad I wasn't able to get a pic of the cougar we heard one day while walking. Well, I wasn't walking for long once I heard the grrrrowl!

Brad said...

Yeah. The larger cats might be a little intimidating. Not exactly the neighborhood kitty cat!