Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Robert B. Frederick

Department Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Population estimation and trend analyses are critically important for sustainable harvest and management of many species. The bobcat (Lynx rufus) plays important ecological and economic roles in Kentucky as a furbearer and mesopredator. I conducted a study of the bobcat in southeastern Kentucky as a twenty year follow-up to research conducted in the same study area. I radio-collared five (4F, 1M) bobcats and assessed space and habitat use patterns. Mean annual minimum convex polygon (MCP) home range size for all bobcats was 14.7 km2 (n = 5, SE = 3.9 km2), and 22.2 km2 (n = 5, SE = 7.5 km2) using the adaptive kernel (AK) method. Mean female annual home range size was 17.4 km2 (MCP, n = 4, SE = 3.9 km2) and 27.4 km2 (AK, n = 4, SE = 7.5). Mean female-female home range overlap was 29.1% (MCP, n = 6, SE= 8.7), and female-male overlap was 17.1% (MCP, n = 4, SE = 7.0). Mean female-female core area overlap was 10.5% (MCP, n = 6, SE = 10.5), and female-male 12.1% (MCP, n = 4, SE = 12.1). Bobcats (all bobcats pooled) used forest in proportion to availability at the study area spatial scale, used open habitat more than expected, but avoided active mines (P < 0.001). Movement rate (x = 0.12 km/hr) of a single GPS-collared male bobcat was lower during midday than during the morning, late afternoon, or nighttime periods. Also, more locations were recorded in forested habitat than expect based on habitat available within the home range, which contradicts the trend seen in the VHF data analysis, possibly indicating VHF data were not reliable in assessing habitat selection.

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