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Here, kitty, kitty

Jessica Cuffman • Jan 21, 2014 at 1:20 PM

State officials recently proposed the bobcat be removed from Ohio’s list of threatened species, just two years after it was downgraded from the endangered list.

The animal, most prominent in Southeastern Ohio, hasn’t been spotted in Erie, Huron, Ottawa or Sandusky counties for decades.

The only bobcats in this area are likely in captivity, such as the two that now call Back to the Wild in Castalia home.

They were taken in at the rehabilitation and education center after previous owners who kept them as pets were unable to handle them.

Because of health issues, they cannot be released back into the wild, so they are kept as educational animals at the center.

While there aren’t any recent confirmed sightings of bobcats in the Register’s coverage area, more than a dozen species of endangered animals could theoretically be spotted locally.

But you’ll have to look hard.

Most of the local animals on state or federal endangered species lists are birds that can be seen at the Lake Erie shoreline during migration times in the spring or fall, said Carolyn Caldwell, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

“That’s a big possibility for folks to see listed endangered species for two different periods of the year” she said.    

Others include varieties of fish, such as the Lake Sturgeon, as well as mollusks, the Eastern Massasauga snake and even the Indiana Bat, which is a federally endangered species.

As might be expected with an endangered species, ODNR doesn’t have occurrence records of the bat in the area. But that doesn’t mean they’re not actually present, Caldwell said. The creatures tend to hibernate in caves south of Ohio during the winter, but they’re suspected to be statewide during the summer.

Anyone who spots an endangered species can report a sighting to the Division of Wildlife at dnr.state.oh.us, or by emailing wildinfo@dnr.state.oh.us   or calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

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