University of New Hampshire researchers want to understand why bobcats are making a comeback in the state despite a dramatic decrease in their traditional prey, such as rabbits.
UNH biologists said the population of bobcats in the state may have rebounded to as many 1,400. That led the state Fish and Game Commission to consider a limited bobcat hunting and trapping season. But the proposal received much public opposition and the idea was withdrawn earlier this year.
Scientists theorize that bobcats have rebounded, in part, because they have shifted their diet to different prey, such as turkeys and squirrels that hang out beneath bird feeders during the winter.
To test their hypothesis, they will compare different forms of chemical elements, such as nitrogen and carbon, in possible prey animals with those in bobcat hair.