Do bobcats live in the UK?

No, they don’t live in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Although I could stop there I’ll add two more pieces of information. The bobcat is part of the lynx family which comprises the Canada lynx, the Eurasian lynx and the Iberian lynx in addition to the bobcat.

Bobcat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The lynx was resident in the UK before Medieval times around 1,300 years ago when it is believed the species became extinct in the UK. The cause was loss of habitat and sport hunting. Plus ça change.

Secondly, there has been a lot of talk about rewilding a Scottish estate and other suitable sites. National Geographic have an article written September 2019 in which they discuss the introduction of Eurasian lynx into the Kielder Forest, a 250 square mile area of woodland in Northumberland, in the north of England.

Farmers are not that keen because of possible predation on livestock but this can be dealt with through insurance schemes I’d suggest.

Lynx UK Trust hopes to transport six wild lynx from Scandinavia, 2 males and 2 females. They’d wear a tracking device and a camera. The organisers would be able to watch them 24/7.

The benefits would be tourism. Officials rewilded a part of Germany with lynx and there was a £12.5m boost to the local economy from tourism. The forest would benefit too. The lynx would help to keep the deer population down. Currently there are too many deer in Kielder Forest, it is said, with subsequent overgrazing of the forest which leads to a reduction in diversity of forest species.

The bobcat or lynx do not attack people so there is no potential danger in that respect. Eurasian lynx, as alluded to in the article, do prey on roe and red deer but rodents make up the highest proportion of their prey. They are shy wild cats. They’d make a huge contribution to the ecology of Britain. Britain probably has no wild cat species because the Scottish wildcat (much smaller than the lynx) is probably extinct in the wild in Britain as all existing wildcats are almost certainly hybrids.

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