The Price Of Life

Is a Bobcat Worth More Alive or Dead?

October 8, 2019

Have you ever wondered how valuable a bobcat is? We know that they are very important to the environments that they live in for a variety of reasons, one of which being prey population management. But, sometimes bobcat furs are sold in order to make money. In the United States, a single pelt can be sold for an average of $416.

You might think that that is a lot of money. However, in Madison, Wyoming, a bobcat, known as the Madison River bobcat, makes much more than that; He does this by just being alive. Did you know that tourists make a special trip to Madison Wyoming every year? This special trip is made in order to witness and photograph this particular bobcat that is located on the Madison River. Bobcats are very aloof, and therefore difficult to see in the wild. Even in National Parks, like Yellowstone, these small cats are rarely seen by the public. A fact that makes seeing one in the wild all the more special, and people flock to this area in order to see one of the most elusive wild cat species in North America.

The lead scientist for Panthera’s puma program compiled a list of ecotourism costs that were associated with this particular bobcat and the many people that go to see and document the cat in one year. By interviewing guides, photographers, and other tourists that visited the area, he determined that in one year, those people collectively spent $308,105 on guide services, equipment, hotel costs, and revenue earned from photo sales.

Given this information, the value of a bobcat decreases by nearly 1000 times by killing it. This study is incredibly valuable to proving that the bobcat is worth much more alive than dead. It might seem odd to associate a monetary value with a living creature. But, in a world that is constantly using economic value to make legal, ethical, and personal decisions, it is vital that our society is aware of these lesser-known values.

For more information about our elusive neighbor, the bobcat, please visit our Species Information Page, or come visit us at Turpentine Creek to see our bobcat residents, learn their stories, and see for yourself how valuable a bobcat’s life is!