Indiana Otter, Bobcat, and Badger Populations Improve
The Department of Natural Resources has removed bobcats, badgers, and river otters from the Indiana endangered species list. The three species have been reclassified but remain protected as non-game species.
"The elevation of these species from endangered to protected non-game status is the result of a highly effective wildlife program and a series of important partnerships in Indiana," said Department of Natural Resources director Kyle Hupfer. "Trappers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and other Hoosiers have all been a part of providing more habitat for these species to exist and flourish."
The badger, bobcat, and river otter were included on Indiana's original endangered species list in 1969. Studies by DNR biologists during the past 10 years have shown growing bobcat, river otter, and badger populations.
Ten years ago, DNR surveys found evidence of badgers in 61 Hoosier counties. Since then, badger evidence has been reported in another 21 counties. During the mid-1950s, badgers were found in only 33 Indiana counties.
DNR biologists say the increase in the Indiana river otter population is because of both improved habitat and the state's river otter reintroduction program. From 1995 through 1999, The DNR released more than 300 wild river otters at 12 sites in six Indiana watersheds. Otters are now found in 63 Indiana counties.
Bobcats are also on the rebound. These wild cats have recently been confirmed in 32 counties. Bobcat studies centered around Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in Martin County and private land in the heart of Indiana's bobcat's range confirm the improving status of bobcat populations.
By Indiana law, endangered species are any species or subspecies of wildlife whose prospects for survival or recruitment within the state are in jeopardy or are likely to become so within the foreseeable future. More Indiana river otter information: http://www.ai.org/dnr/fishwild/endangered/otter.htm. More Indiana bobcat information: http://www.ai.org/dnr/fishwild/endangered/bobcat/index.html. More Indiana badger information: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/lifeseries/badger.htm.
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