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COLUMBUS, Ind. — A bobcat was found hit and killed by a vehicle on the west side of Columbus.
Police received a call of an animal struck and left in the road at Terrace Lake and Carr Hill roads around 11 p.m. Sunday.
When officers responded, they found a bobcat that was later determined to be about 2 years old and weighed close to 20 pounds, said Sgt. Matt Harris, a spokesman for the Columbus Police Department. The animal carcass was removed.
Bobcats have become more common in the southern third of Indiana, said Scott Johnson, a non-game biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
"We don't have a population estimate, but the numbers that have been struck by vehicles over the years is indicative of an increase," Johnson said.
He said he has heard of a couple reports of bobcats being hit on Interstate 65 and one on Indiana 46 in Bartholomew County in recent years, but the exact number of bobcats in Indiana is not available.
"It's not something that you can go out and count," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, they don't line up for us."
Bobcats are about twice the size of a house cats. They can stand about 2 feet high at their shoulders and weigh up to about 25 pounds.
Bobcats vary in color, but they all have a short, bobbed tail that measures about 4 to 6 inches, Johnson said.
Angie Goldman, spokesman for Indiana conservation officers, said bobcats have a solitary nature and are nocturnal animals.
"It's not in their nature to be seen," she said. "We're seeing road kills and accidental traps more often, but most people have not seen one even though they are common in southern Indiana."
Bobcats are a protected species, meaning it is illegal to hunt the animals.
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