Wildlife officials are warning Boston pet owners to be vigilant after a bobcat was spotted at a West Roxbury park Sunday and might be living nearby.
A woman spotted the adult bobcat at Millennium Park, said Marion E. Larson, the chief of information and education at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The animal might be living near the park and looking for territory to claim, Larson said.
“Really there is no need to be concerned for your own safety like with other wild animals,” Larson said. “But small dogs and cats could be a potential meal for a bobcat. The best thing you can do is keep your pets either indoors or restrained on a leash if you’re taking your dog outside.”
Bobcats are common in Massachusetts, but the elusive animals are not seen as often as coyotes, MassWildlife said. The agency once got a report of a coyote looking for trash to eat on Huntington Avenue by the Prudential Center, Larson said.
However, the “flourishing” bobcat population is moving east into the suburbs to eat raccoons and squirrels, MassWildlife said.
“It’s pretty cool there’s this elusive creature within city limits. It kind of exists as an indicator of how healthy and abundant our wildlife is,” Larson said.
Despite the growing bobcat population, wildlife officials were surprised to learn a bobcat was roaming West Roxbury.
“It’s very unusual. That’s not a usual place one would expect to find one,” Larson said. “On the other hand, in the West Roxbury and the Millennium Park area, there’s a lot of green spaces and wetlands very suitable for lots of different kinds of wildlife.”
MassWildlife has no plans to catch the animal, but the agency is reassuring people that bobcats do not usually approach humans.
“I must say, it’s kind of cool. Who would’ve thought you might see a bobcat within the city limits of Boston?” Larson said.