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This Bobcat Brings in $308,000 a Year

Somewhere in Yellowstone National Park, a wildcat is walking around with a little extra swagger in its step today. That’s because a new study estimates the value of one specific bobcat there at a whopping $308,105 a year.

How does just one aloof floof generate more cash than the median American home is worth? Not by trading stocks or reinventing the juicer, of course, but by doing what bobcats do best—prowling about the boulders in pursuit of small creatures to devour.

Bobcats are actually pretty rare in Yellowstone, you see, and even in areas where the cats are common they can be difficult to spot. But in recent years, at least one cat has managed to make a living along the Madison River by ambushing ducks and other birds that ply these waters year-round. What’s more, the bobcat’s exploits have caught the attention of wildlife outfitters and photographers who now schedule entire expeditions around observing and capturing the feline on film.

To get a better idea of just how much money this one animal was generating for the local community, Mark Elbroch, the puma program lead scientist for the global wild cat conservation organization Panthera, started contacting outfitters and photographers to tally up their expenditures and earnings. By crunching costs from filling up a gas tank and guide fees to gear purchases and revenue earned from photo sales, Elbroch and his colleagues found that the Madison River bobcat brings in well over quarter million dollars each year. Their findings were publishedlast week in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation.

Read full article by Jason Bittel: This Bobcat Brings in $308,000 a Year

Photo: Neal Herbert/National Park Service

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