The spacing patterns and mating systems of solitary carnivores have important implications for social behavior and for the survival and reproduction of individuals. Over 2 years, we reintroduced 32 (15 males and 17 females) bobcats (Lynx rufus) to a barrier island off the coast of Georgia and studied patterns of bobcat spatial distribution. Population density increased to 3.1 bobcats/10 km2. We found overlap of the home range for all females on the island increased during 1989-1991 such that, on average, each female shared a home-range area with the equivalent of >2 other females, and for core areas overlap was equivalent to sharing a core area with nearly 1 other female. Reproduction and home-range overlap were related inversely and food resources did not seem to be limiting. Our results were consistent with the land tenure concept in that the initial reintroduced bobcats established home ranges that changed little in size and location. However, bobcats resident on the island for ≥ 1 year did not successfully exclude newcomers from their home ranges or core areas and no bobcats retained areas of exclusive use from conspecifics of the same sex. We suggest that the propensity of female bobcats to reproduce successfully may be related to their access to exclusive use areas even under conditions of adequate or good food availability. Under the conditions in this study (moderate bobcat density, adequate food availability, and limited dispersal) bobcats exhibited no evidence of an ability to exclude other adult individuals from their home ranges or core areas.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation