Tracy Rittenhouse Knows Where the Wild Things Are

Tracy Rittenhouse, who teaches wildlife techniques and researches wild populations, traps small mammals along the edge of the Fenton tract of the UConn Forest. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Tracy Rittenhouse teaches wildlife techniques and researches wild populations. She knows, for instance, just how many bears and bobcats could be lurking in your Connecticut backyard. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

“They’re just so quiet. People don’t see them even though they’re right there,” says Tracy Rittenhouse of the Connecticut bobcats she is studying. “I think they’re living in places more urban than we ever imagined.”

Her students have shown her pictures of a bobcat they spied in the parking lot of the Young Building on campus. “Bobcats are very good at avoiding people even though they’re active at all times of the day and night.”

Rittenhouse, associate professor of natural resources and the environment, was asked to help analyze data for The Bobcat Project that Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) began last year.

Despite having studied the state’s populations of everything from salamanders and bats to deer and bear, she finds this survey “super exciting.” Few in-depth studies have been done on bobcats anywhere in the country. So there’s a lot to learn.

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