Bobcat caught, collared

Chelsea Powrie

A team of researchers is trapping and collaring bobcats and lynxes in the South Okanagan, with the hope of understanding their interaction and how it relates to climate change. 

They set traps in strategic locations which they check every day, with fingers crossed.

The team, supervised by Al Peatt, executive director of the Southern Interior Land Trust, and Ross Everett, a local trapper, hit the jackpot today.

"It's the biggest cat that we've had so it's kind of exciting, it's a bobcat," said Carlie Scott, a masters student with Trent University doing research into non-invasive animal tracking options.

Arthur Scully, the PhD student in charge and also from Trent, estimated it at 10 kilograms. 

Scully is researching whether warmer winter temperatures are forcing lynx, which typically stay at higher, colder elevations, to interact more with bobcats, and whether the outcome is negative.

"We're using a collar that takes a GPS point every hour, so we know exactly where that cat was every hour," Scully said. "On Oct.1 this year, the collars pop off, and we'll go pick them up."

Peatt said the collars don't hurt the cats, and the research they provide is invaluable for conservation in the long run. 

"If people encounter the traps, they should just leave them alone," Peatt said. "It's actually illegal to interfere with those traps and while you think you might be doing something good, it's really just interfering with a good research project."

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