Field of Science

Don't need no stinkin' science

Us residents of Lincolnland are pretty lucky. Yes, there are legislators here that deny science, but there are also legislators in the state senate like Bill McCann who can do science so fast and easy that he should give lessons to us field researchers. It's been a long time since bobcats (Lynx rufus) were common in this state because like other cats it's a top predator and they are always the most vulnerable. So ultimately the bobcat ended up on the endangered species list, but in some areas, the populations have increased so that bobcats are no longer in danger. Of course, no one knows actually because the state DNR wildlifers and university biologists don't have the personnel or funding to monitor and study such populations, to find out how fast or slow the population is growing or declining.  But Senator McCann, well, he can just take a walk in the woods and you know every time he does he sees a bobcat, or 2 or 3, or 4 or 5. Really? Can we see the data? And how wide spread is this burgeoning population of bobcats in the state? The good senator just knows that bobcats now need to be hunted to manage their numbers. Heck, he don't need no stinkin' science, no troublesome data, we'll just make it legal to hunt those suckers. Now of course bobcat is a non-game species, and they need to be managed, to keep their numbers in check, because, well, because they might get a chicken or two somewhere.  So McCann proposes just the most banal form of hunting, shooting something just to shoot something. It probably wouldn't matter if there really was some scientific study because the good senator would just ignore the findings and recommendations anyways, unless the bobcat study said, "Shoot to kill." This is quite the display of ignorance from one of the boom-boom boys.


Anonymous said...

Bobcats we have - just watched one play whack-a-mole with the squirrels under the birdfeeder. But Lynx? Well they denied and denied because they didn't want to admit that the traps used for coyotes could (did) snare Lynx. What a shock to have some biologists who found incontravertable evidence of breeding populations. Evidence is so darn inconvenient at times.

The Phytophactor said...

Your comment confused me. Bobcats are a species in the genus Lynx, but they are not called by the common name lynx. And we have plenty of squirrels we'd happily share with either species.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I've confused you. We have a substantial population of "bobcats", officially Lynx rufus. We also have, in the northern parts of the state (Maine) Lynx canadensis. In conversation we usually settle for "bobcat" and "lynx"(although it's not uncommon to hear "Canada lynx"). I'm not familiar with the current range of the "bobcat", but when I worked on resource inventories in Massachusetts I saw them from time to time. Here, where there are 15 persons per square mile, there just might be more bobcats than us folks. It's the L.canadensis that has recently been found to have a breeding population despite years of denials. Hope this corrects any confusion I caused.