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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.

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We thank the Scully family for financial support of this project.

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Correspondence to L. Mark Elbroch.

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Communicated by David Hawksworth.

This article belongs to the Topical Collection: Biodiversity exploitation and use.

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Elbroch, L.M., Robertson, L., Combs, K. et al. Contrasting bobcat values. Biodivers Conserv 26, 2987–2992 (2017).

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  • Ecotourism
  • Hunting
  • Furbearers
  • Non-consumptive use
  • Regulation
  • Trapping