CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Sightings of lynx, more commonly known as bobcats, are reportedly on the rise.
This comes after a Macon County driver struck and killed a bobcat that attempted to cross the road. The skittish big cats are virtually no threat to people, however curiosity lies with the migration. Although not unseen in Central and Northern Illinois, bobcats are more commonly seen in Southern and Western Illinois, and mostly on trail cameras.
“We’re just in that range where there’s suitable habitat and plenty of prey so they’re just moving through, finding new territories and being pretty happy in a spot like this,” said Alex Lourash, Natural Areas Manager for Allerton Park. “As you go south, bobcat sightings are definitely more heard of and kind of in our range. Champaign, Piatt, and north are not as common.”
Lourash expects bobcats to continue to move north going forward.
“I think we are seeing more just because of those territories that need to expand. They have a pretty big range in their own territories, so they need to continue to find those new spots and move north into these areas where we typically don’t see them.”
Fellow Allerton Park Natural Areas Manager Nate Beccue said that by judging the past, they can almost predict the future.
“Bobcats are where they’re most common, and in Illinois that’s southern Illinois, Western Illinois… and they’re just coming back into areas where they always had been in the past.”
Just don’t expect to see one on the front porch anytime soon.
“If you see one in person count yourself lucky, because it’s a really neat thing to run into out in the woods,” Beccue said. “And most likely you are going to see the tail end of it running away from you. You’re not actually going to have any type of conflict with it.”
Even with increased sightings throughout Central Illinois, the odds of seeing a bobcat are a long shot. Most the time, they will smell and hear someone approaching before they are even seen.