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The art of tracking bobcats in Okanagan Falls

Click to play video 'Tracking Gallagher the bobcat, four months after release' Tracking Gallagher the bobcat, four months after release
Ross Everatt, president of the Southern Interior Land Trust tracks lynx and bobcats through the Okanagan Similkameen Valley, to collect collars and tags to collect data.

Tracking and wrangling wild cats is something that one man knows well.

Ross Everatt, president of the Southern Interior Land Trust tracks lynx and bobcats through the Okanagan Similkameen Valley, to collect collars and tags to collect data.

One of the ones he has been tracking was nicknamed Gallagher, that was injured by a car near  Gallagher Lake, between Penticton and Oliver. After she recovered in June she was released back into the wild with some new hardware, a radio transmitting collar and ear tags that collect information about the wild cat, including migration.

“We’ll be very excited to see what she does after she’s released because most of the time we never know,” said Dr. Ellen Denstedt of the BC Wildlife Park during an interview with Global News in June.

READ MORE: Bobcat released back into B.C.’s wild after months of rehabilitation

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Everatt was able to track Gallagher for a few days.

“The Gallagher Lake bobcat disappeared on us,” he said. “I followed her for ten days, she headed North right away, from there who knows, she could be back over the mountains.”

In the past four months that has been no sign of the bobcat. Everatt surveils the area for bobcats to track them down and retrieve the precious information in their collars.

READ MORE: Bobcat sightings on the rise in Calgary

“We’re looking to understand interactions between lynx and bobcats because they do interact, as well as their winter changes (in migration).”

In winter when there is snow on the ground bobcats come down from the mountains to lower elevations, usually where people live. Part of the volunteer’s conservation work at the Southern Interior Land Trust is making sure that the wild cats have plenty of room to live, hunt and mate for generations to come.

“We acquire habitat for all living things, our theory is if the habitat is there, the wildlife is there but, we are encroaching and putting houses in places you never thought you’d be building houses,” said Everatt.

Those houses and their fenced yards are what Everatt says is blocking natural corridors for the wild cats’ migration patterns. The trust currently holds several hectares including, wetlands, hillsides, lakes and rocky bluffs for the wildlife to roam free and while they live their lives without human interruption, Everatt’s hunt for Gallagher continues.

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