Pixie-Bob News Room

New Jersey Bobcat Conservation

From the Defenders of Wildlife

Historically, the bobcat roamed throughout the entire state of New Jersey. It first experienced declines in the mid-1800s as forests were cleared for lumber, fuel, agriculture and other uses. By the late 1970’s they were considered to be extinct in the state.

In 1972, the species gained legal protection when it was classified as a game species with a closed season. In an effort to re-establish bobcat populations, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife captured 24 bobcats from Massachusetts and Maine and released them into the northern portion of the state between 1978 and 1982. In June of 1991, the bobcat was listed as an endangered species and given protection under the New Jersey State Endangered Species Act, where they remain.

The Division’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) began capturing, collaring, and tracking bobcats in 1996 to determine their movements and which habitats were important to their survival. However, given the rampant rate of development throughout the state and the need to identify and protect rapidly diminishing suitable bobcat habitat, biologists must greatly intensify their efforts.

Bobcats use a wide variety of habitat types and occupy large home ranges that are relatively free from human habitation and alteration. They also require suitable travel corridors to allow for individuals to move between these parcels of land. In New Jersey, bobcats are found primarily in the northern counties of Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren.

In December 2004, Defenders of Wildlife began working with the Endangered and Nongame Species Program and their non-profit arm, the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, to launch Phase Two of the New Jersey Bobcat Project and contributed more than $10,000 in direct and in-kind contributions to this project. During Phase Two, wildlife biologists, with the help of volunteers, increased the number of live cage traps and installed motion sensitive and infra red cameras in areas of Warren, Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties where bobcats are known to exist. ENSP will also initiate efforts to determine bobcat distribution in other northern areas where bobcats may exist.

These valuable data is incorporated into the New Jersey Landscape Project, an ecosystem-level approach to conservation begun by the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in 1994 and will help biologists create a protection and management strategy that focuses on preserving the most critical bobcat habitat.

Bobcat Fact Sheet


January 23, 2008 - Posted by | Bobcats

1 Comment »

  1. Hello,

    Can you tell me if there have been any sightings of bobcats near Barry Lakes, NY (that is near Highland Lakes NJ)


    Comment by peter noto | January 18, 2009 | Reply

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