Contrasting bobcat values
Ecotourism enhances conservation management, promotes non-consumptive use of wildlife, and increases local community resources over that of select individuals when compared with consumptive uses such as hunting or trapping. The bobcat is a cryptic mesocarnivore widely exploited for pelts across North America, and a species increasingly contributing to ecotourism. Here, we report a conservative, non-consumptive economic value of US$308,105 for a single bobcat in Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming for the 2015–2016 winter season, a figure nearly 1000 times greater than exploitive values of US$315.17 per bobcat trapped or hunted in Wyoming in the same season (US$130.53 per bobcat harvested in revenue earned by the state of Wyoming in trapping license sales + US$184.64 per pelt sold by successful trappers and hunters). In 2016, tourism was the second largest industry in Wyoming and generated US$3.2 billion. Our case study emphasizes that current bobcat regulatory policies across North America do not reflect current cultural values, inclusive of both consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife. Therefore, we recommend range-wide regulatory changes to ensure bobcat management is not just sustainable in terms of harvest, but that all people have access to shared resources held in trust.
KeywordsEcotourism Hunting Furbearers Non-consumptive use Regulation Trapping
We thank the Scully family for financial support of this project.
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