Flagler Beach residents organize to determine bobcat numbers, locations
In a meeting at the Beach Front Grill July 22, 31 residents used a bulletin board to track bobcat sightings and the locations where local pet cats had been killed or disappeared in Flagler Beach. Locals suspect a bobcat or bobcats are to blame for recent cat killings and disappearances in Flagler Beach south of State Road 100.
"We kept the talk this time about awareness and letting everybody know what the bobcat is, what its lifestyle is and things like that, and then some of the areas it had been seen," Costello said.
Costello said she has reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to see about bringing in an expert to speak to locals about bobcats' habits and to recommend ways to keep pets safe. Along with a handful of other locals who are concerned that bobcats are killing local pets, she's hired a trapper to relocate the bobcat or bobcats from the area.
The trapping effort hasn't yet yielded a bobcat, but in the meantime, she said on July 24, "We did have couple more sightings, yesterday morning down on 22nd street ... at about 7:30 in the evening. I think there’s a den. The other day, we saw one outside our (Lakeshore Drive) house, and it was about 10 o'clock in the morning."
Many readers commented — and posted their own bobcat sighting photos and videos — on the Observer's Facebook post about a previous story on bobcats in Flagler Beach:
"There should be a meeting at beachfront grill to discuss what to do with the people in Flagler Beach that have encroached on the bobcat's natural habitat. I don’t think the bobcats are the issue considering how many stray cats can be found around the area. When you start putting non-native species above native species and make them compete for food resources, what did people think would happen??" — Pete Johnson
"My cat is outdoor most of the time. We have a bobcat that comes around and doesn’t bother her. I don’t have a choice; I tried keeping her inside for a long time but she wants to be outside and peed all over my house because of it." — Bernadette Thorn
"The easiest solution is usually the best. Keep your pets indoors or supervise them went they are outdoors. Letting a cat wander around outside is a well-known hazard for the cat. Not just due to native animals, but cars, other domesticated cats, and disease. Not to mention people who actually enjoy killing cats for sport." — Gay Hasty
"We had a lot of bobcats in L. One tore a hole in our pool screen trying to get at our cat. Normally, they didn't bother us. Biggest annnoyance was using the garden as a litter box. Their kittens are cute. They eat a lot of snakes and rodents. Leash your dogs; there is a leash law anyway and cats belong inside in Florida because if the bobcat don't get them, the snakes, raptors, gators or coons will." — Ray Douglass