Threats To Our Urban Carnivores

If you are a cat lover, you are probably fascinated by the similarities your domestic cat has to his or her wild relatives.  Even the most pampered and well-fed domestic cat still retains that hunting instinct. Perhaps because cat guardians know that they live with a tiny, perfect carnivore, many find the bobcat so fascinating.  Named for its short, “bobbed” tail, the bobcat is the most common of the wildcats in North America. Unfortunately, as we encroach upon the bobcat’s territory, their future may be in jeopardy.

Bobcat researcher and biologist Laurel Klein Serieys has studied the bobcat, and the factors contributing to the declining health of the bobcat population. Increasing urban development resulting in loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation are a primary threat to bobcats everywhere. The use of rat poison, which is thought to make bobcats more susceptible to notoedric mange, has weakened the bobcat population. Klein has focused on a group of about 300 bobcats living in the ecosystem of the Santa Monica mountains, and observed that mange is increasingly claiming the lives of this beautiful feline.

To help bring attention to the plight of the bobcat, Klein has collaborated with photographer Barry Rowan, to create an exhibition entitled Urban Carnivores.  This exhibit focuses on photos of a mother bobcat and her two kittens in a Santa Barbara area park taken over a period of several months.

Hopefully, the Urban Carnivores exhibit will help raise awareness of the bobcat crisis, so steps can be taken to preserve, and lessen our human impact on this beautiful species before it is too late. After all, as Klein says “if we don’t preserve biodiversity in urban areas where are we going to preserve it?”

A reception for the Urban Carnivores exhibit is being held on August 11, 2012 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the G2 Gallery.  The G2 Gallery is located in Venice, California, and focuses on wildlife photography in the hopes of bringing attention to environmental issues.  The exhibition is on view from August 7th through September 16, 2012.

You can also learn more about the plight of the bobcat at the Urban Carnivores website. If you share a home with your own little carnivore, the Urban Carnivore website notes that bobcats and domestic cats are susceptible to the same diseases, including mange, which is just one of many good reasons to keep your cat inside.

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