Bobcat Population Increasing in Iowa

IOWA  --  Bobcats are making a comeback in Iowa.

Just 40 years ago, bobcats were listed as endangered, and were close to being wiped out of Iowa altogether. But now, as KWWL's Brad Hanson reports, more of the animals are popping up across the state.

In 2013, Waverly police officers caught a rare sight of a bobcat, and not long after a video was posted on YouTube of a southern Iowa bobcat. Earlier this month, the animals were spotted on trail cameras in Dubuque County.

"It's a great conservation success story that the populations are rebounding and spreading mostly through southern Iowa, but the populations here in eastern Iowa are rebounding as well," said Brian Preston of Dubuque County Conservation.

Preston said they've seen bobcats go from endangered in the late 70s, to now just a species of concern. He also said they pose no threat to humans or pets, and only survive on small game like rabbits and mice.

"Bobcats are a very secretive animal. I still have not seen a live one in the wild. I've seen plenty of trail camera pictures, I've seen tracks, have not seen a live bobcat. But they don't like to be around humans, and they will take off."

Preston said if you are lucky enough to see one, keep your distance, and cherish the opportunity.

"Pretty much if you get the chance to see a bobcat, enjoy it. Try to get a picture. It's not something you'll see very often."

Many people tend to confuse bobcats for mountain lions, and from far away it can be hard to tell the difference. However, bobcats are usually just about three feet long, and not only do mountain lions not live in Iowa, they're usually nine to ten feet long.