Tracking bobcats on Kiawah Island

Bobcats thrive on Kiawah Island, so biologists are able to track them using radio collars (John Gaddy/WCIV)

By Sonya

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Kiawah is known as being a golf and tennis resort, but the island is also home to lots of wildlife. The trees, the bushes and the overall environment here on the island make it the ideal place for local biologists to study bobcats.

"We have got about 30 to 35 here on the island. They are doing very well out here," said Jim Jordan, Kiawah Island biologist.

We were able to track down one of the six collared bobcats along with its kitten that was born in April. Bobcats typically live 5 to 8 years on the island, but can live as long as ten years.

"These radio collars have a GPS that communicates with the satellites and comes up with their location," said Jordan. "They also have a VHF transmitter, which VHF stands for very high frequency, and each collar has its own unique frequency and so using a directional antenna and a radio receiver we can dial into that specific collar and then basically figure out where the strongest signal is and know the direction and approximate distance to the animal."

This method, which they have been using for seven years, allows them to keep tabs on the bobcats.

"We have got all the collars we need to basically rotate these collars from year to year, get new batteries put in them, the cost isn't that expensive and it doesn't take a lot of labor on our part," said Jordan.

Town biologists hope to continue their research in the future so they can learn more about these animals.