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Arianna Parisi, Fountain Woods Elementary School

Burlington County

Image of Burlington County, First Place, BobcatBurlington County, First Place, Bobcat (c) Arianna Parisi

HUGE PROBLEM WITH A TINY SOLUTION

Living in the wild is like being on the show Survivor. Actually, they're basically the same thing, only I'm a bobcat and they're humans. You have to fight to live, eat what you find, and live where you can. But all of this is twice as hard when you're endangered. I would know.

During my day I hunt, eat, sleep, and hide. I live about 12-13 years, and then I pass on. Although lately, when I go out to hunt, the animals I eat are harder to spot, like small rodents, ground nesting birds, turkeys, and small or sick deer. This is because their habitats are being destroyed, so they must find other homes farther away from me. My two-foot tall, gray self has 1-6 kittens every February-June. I weigh up to twenty pounds and have spots on my fur. On my head there are short tufted, black ears and towards my rear there is a short bobbed tail, hence the name bobcat. I can be other colors and have marks that can range anywhere from tabby stripes to spots.

It all started when European settlers came, hunted us relentlessly, and wiped out more than half of our species. Because of this, some people actually thought we were extinct. Plus, throughout the 1950s and 1960s, bobcats were still scarce. I've only been on the endangered list since 1991, but it feels like it's been much longer than that. Not to mention, my habitat is being destroyed so humans can build their own homes on it or take materials for their own needs. For example, forest and swamp-like areas are being cut down for wood or cleared out for land to build on.

I may be endangered, but I don't have to be much longer... you can help me. You can help by saving my habitat and not cutting down as many trees. All you really have to do is recycle, because recycling saves paper, saving paper saves trees, and saving trees saves forests, my habitat.

Most people know what the word "endangered" means, but don't usually think of the animals who are. Think about it, if your species was endangered would you want people to help you? If you said yes, you're right. When you're endangered you want more than anything else to repopulate. Take it from someone who knows.

Written by: Arianna Parisi

Fountain Woods Elementary School, Burlington Township

Teacher: Mrs. G. Jackson