Over the past several days, Airdrie residents have been posting photos on social media of what appears to be Bobcat sightings across the city. According to Fish and Wildlife Alberta, although Bobcats tend to shy away from humans, there are increasing Bobcat sightings in southern Alberta.
This is due to the fact that Bobcats feed mostly on rabbits, hares and other small mammals like mice and squirrels, which are found in urbanized areas.
"As a result, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services receive many reports of Bobcat sightings throughout the year. Officers will respond when there is a threat to public safety; however, Bobcats can be difficult to trap in an urban environment where their ranges can extend over large areas," Alberta Fish and Wildlife wrote in a previous email.
Residents are being reminded that Bobcats are opportunistic hunters and if Bobcats are known to be in the area, it is advised to keep cats indoors and supervise small dogs when they are in the yard, as they may be vulnerable. Other tips that may deter bobcats from coming near one's property include:
- Keep trees, shrubs and even grass trimmed so there is no shelter for Bobcats to hide in.
- Close off any potential shelter, such as the spaces under decks, patios and outbuildings.
- Remove the food, shelter or water that may attract them to your property. Do not feed them.
- Keep your garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Put your garbage and recycling out only on the morning of collection, not earlier.
- Avoid leaving screen doors and windows open where Bobcats could sneak into your home.
- Do not leave pet food outdoors.
- Remove bird feeders and bird baths so Bobcats are not drawn into your yard to prey on the birds
- Add motion detector lighting to walkways and driveways
- Keep dogs, rabbits, chickens or other animals that live outdoors in a secure enclosure with a strong roof
The City of Airdrie also has tips on avoiding human-wildlife contact, including:
- Give animals space.
- Do not feed wildlife.
- Properly dispose of waste.
- Keep pets on a leash.
- Use caution while driving.
The City underlines, that as wildlife adapts to urban environments, private property may attract wildlife. To reduce unwanted activity on your property:
- Install fences.
- Keep waste inaccessible.
- Choose animal-resistant plants.
The Bobcat is the smallest of Alberta's wild cats. Its signature look is a bobbed tail - the genesis of their name. They have black-tufted ears and dark markings for camouflage.
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