FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Bobcat sightings in the greater Fort Wayne area are becoming more and more common.
Geriann Albers, a Furbearer Biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, told WANE 15 that bobcats started to move into southern Indiana in the late 1900s. Now, they’re migrating into northeast Indiana.
“They’re doing this because they like to follow our river corridors,” Albers explained. “So, they moved to the southern part of the state and they’re following our rivers, basically, up into northern Indiana and over. Now they’re moving down into our northeastern and eastern part of our state.”
While bobcats are more nocturnal, secretive animals, Albers said more and more sightings are happening thanks to trail and security cameras.
They had a sighting on camera in Fort Wayne near the Maumee river back in 2020. More recently, there was a confirmed video sighting in Wabash County. She added that Steuben County is a place bobcats are likely to appear.
Bobcats are part of the cat family and have sharp claws, but they will generally try to avoid interactions with humans.
Albers said there have been very few problems of negative interactions between humans and bobcats. The more likely problem, which still doesn’t happen often, is a loose pet chases after a bobcat.
Even in that scenario, Albers said Bobcats are more likely to run away or run up a tree to get away, but they will defend themselves, especially if they have kittens.
For a human-bobcat interaction, she said it’s best to give them space.
“Generally, the bobcats want to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them,” Albers said.
If you ever did encounter a bobcat, she said if you keep eye contact with them and give them space to leave, they likely will. If you’d like to make sure they take off, a loud noise or throwing a small stone in their general direction can help.
If a bobcat is coming into your yard or near your home, Albers recommends figuring out what’s luring them there. They like to eat things like mice, squirrels, and rabbits.
If there’s a bird feeder in your yard attracting those animals, she said taking that down for a few weeks would be a simple solution.
Albers also said that she thinks Bobcats are a really cool member of Indiana’s wildlife community.
“They’re our only native cat. So getting them occasionally on a camera is pretty exciting and pretty fun,” she added.
If anyone catches a recording of a bobcat, they can report it to the Indiana DNR through its Report a Mammal option on its website.