Caitlin Jacobs ’07 has been recognized by the L.A. Times for her extensive work researching large cats on various Florida cattle ranches. While on the ranches, Jacobs spent her time investigating type of predator was causing the cattle to die and how she could reduce the number of cattle deaths. To do this, Jacobs had to stake out in the middle of the night so that she could see, first hand, which kinds of animals were destroying the cattle.
Jacobs found that because of the comeback of Florida panthers, cattle in nearby areas are serving as a food source for the thriving panthers. Though panthers were commonly the cause of death for many of the cattle, Jacobs also found that coyotes, bears, and vultures were also to blame.
Jacobs stated that, “she hoped her study would lead to programs that pay ranchers to maintain key panther habitats, rather than simply compensate them for calf losses.”
Jacobs’ work is not only intended to save the lives of cattle in newly panther-thriving areas, but it is also aiming to make sure the panthers are surrounded by an environment that will allow them to strive.
While at Hamilton, Jacobs received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2007-08 for her project titled, “An Examination of the Coexistence of Big Cats and Humans." Jacobs work with panthers started early and has continued to be a passion of hers which is continuing to benefit panthers and humans around the country. Jacobs graduated in 2007 with a degree in Biology.