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Bobcat population dynamics on Cumberland Island National Seashore


January 2011 - December 2020


Bobcats were reintroduced to Cumberland Island National Seashore in 1988-1989 to restore a native predator. The reintroduction of bobcats has reduced the deer population and allowed natural regeneration of live oaks and other plant species. Although bobcats bobcat populations are secure throughout their range, most felid species are threatened or endangered. The population on Cumberland Island can be considered equivalent to an endangered population (<30 individuals) because natural immigration is extremely rare. We are studying the population dynamics and monitoring the genetic status of bobcats on the island to better understand when this population undergoes genetic bottlenecks and whether conservation actions are warranted to ensure the sustainability of the population on the island.

This research is supported by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the National Park Service.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Diefenbach, D. R., L. A. Hansen, C. Miller-Butterworth, J. H. Bohling, R. J. Warren, and M. J. Conroy. 2013. Re-introduction of bobcats to Cumberland Island, Georgia, USA: status and lessons learned after 25 years.  Pages 235-240 in P. S. Soorae, editor. Global re-introduction Perspectives: 2013. Further Case Studies from Around the Globe. IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, UAE. 282pp.  Download  | 
  • Diefenbach, D. R., L. Hansen, J. Bohling, and C. Miller-Butterworth. 2015. Population and genetic outcomes 20 years after reintroducing bobcats (Lynx rufus) to Cumberland Island, Georgia USA. Ecology and Evolution 5:4885–4895. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1750. Download  | 

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 4

Phd Students: 3

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 3

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 21

Scientific Publications: 92

Presentations: 121



Funding Agencies

  • PA Game Commission


Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  2. Pennsylvania Game Commission
  3. Pennsylvania State University
  4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  5. U.S. Geological Survey
  6. Wildlife Management Institute