IVINS — After a large bobcat was spotted walking around a neighborhood in Southern Utah during the daytime, the Utah Department of Natural Resources trapped and relocated the animal Sunday.
The male bobcat was spotted in the Padre Lakes retirement community in Ivins, where it had killed a house cat and was seen hunting for geese and ducks in a pond, said Steve Shipley, a local resident who used to work for the DNR. Shipley reported the bobcat to the DNR, who sent an officer to place a scented trap near his backyard.
Shipley said he was worried about the bobcat attacking his chihuahua or his house cat that had been too scared to leave the house recently.
“(Bobcats are) nocturnal, so you don’t see them as much,” DNR Sgt. Mark Ekins said. “In the daytime, it’s extremely uncommon. So when someone sees them like they have here, it’s time to move it.”
The trap was set Saturday night by DNR officers, and by the next morning, it had trapped the bobcat. Ekins picked up the bobcat Sunday afternoon and transported it to the wilderness around Pinto north of Pine Valley Mountain. The bobcat was not taken out of the trap without a fight, though; it hissed, jumped around and clawed at the air as Ekins put it in a kennel for transporting.
The bobcat was one of the largest ones he had ever seen, Ekins said.
While wild bobcats are rarely euthanized, if the same bobcat continually attacks pets or property fowl, Ekins said it would be killed. He was considering calling a biologist to put a GPS collar on the captured bobcat to track its movements before releasing it in the wild.
“We’ve relocated so many bobcats from Ivins,” Ekins said, “so I’m always curious if they ever come back.”
The reason the bobcat was in the neighborhood was probably because of nearby construction that was pushing it out of its natural habitat, Shipley said.
Ekins has caught around nine or 10 bobcats in Ivins over the past 11 years, he said.
“Bobcats are actually really common in Ivins,” Ekins said. “There’s a lot more than people think.”
Bobcats are known to attack pets and other small animals when they become comfortable, but Ekins said they usually stay away from people.
“It’s going to be a lot safer for our cats now,” Shipley said.
Before leaving, Ekins reset the trap in case there is another bobcat in the area.
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