Wild Cumberland has received numerous questions about research and media coverage related to the bobcat introduction on Cumberland Island.
The animals released on Cumberland Island were trapped on the mainland from as far as Augusta, Georgia, checked for diseases and fitted with radio tracking collars.
Five (5) individuals were released in the 1970s; another 32 were released in 1988-1989. The current population on Cumberland Island is estimated at approximately 24 individuals.
The research conducted in the above-referenced study confirms that when a specific population becomes isolated (for example, due to habitat loss and fragmentation) it loses genetic variation over time.
This is, of course, exactly what you would expect for a location such as Cumberland Island; it is also an increasingly common scenario as human population continues to climb.
As a federally-protected Wilderness, Cumberland Island National Seashore was expected to be protected as a naturally-functioning system, free from human manipulation. All agency management decisions and activities should minimize the level of human influence.
Wild Cumberland would strongly oppose the introduction of additional animals to Cumberland Island and believes the bobcats’ original introduction was contrary to sound ecological and Wilderness management.
An approved Wilderness Management Plan would create the structure necessary to address projects such as these, and to prevent Wilderness from being exploited in the name of science.