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Habitat-Relative Abundance Relationship for Bobcats in Southern Illinois

Clayton K. Nielsen and Alan Woolf
Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006)
Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 222-230
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784657
Page Count: 9
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Habitat-Relative Abundance Relationship for Bobcats in Southern Illinois
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Abstract

Large-scale multivariate models of habitat suitability have been developed for several carnivore species. However, rarely have habitat models been combined with demographic information to create habitat-relative abundance relationships. We used remotely sensed land-cover information, bobcat habitat use data, multivariate distance statistics, and a geographic information system to provide wildlife managers a spatially explicit depiction of bobcat (Lynx rufus) relative abundance in a $12,512\text{-}{\rm km}^{2}$ portion of southern Illinois. We used the Penrose distance statistic to model regional habitat similarity to areas within core areas of 52 radiocollared bobcats captured during 1995-1999. Bobcat core areas were comprised primarily of forest cover (61%). Conversely, the southern Illinois region consisted of a more even mix of agricultural (36%), forest (29%), and grass cover (22%). Mean patch size of forest cover and proportion of forest cover were most correlated (r≥0.39) to Penrose distance. The Penrose distance model was validated using an independent data set of bobcat sighting locations (n=248). Thirty-one percent and 81% of independent bobcat sightings occurred in the top 10% and 25% of distributions of Penrose distances, respectively. We then modeled relative abundance for the region based on Penrose distance, abundance information from areas occupied by radiocollared bobcats, and bobcat sighting locations. Given the collection of radiotelemetry data, this modeling technique can provide a better alternative than more traditional methods (e.g., scent station surveys) to assess large-scale distribution and abundance of solitary carnivores.

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