‘They are out there, we just don’t see them often’

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­

They’re in the area, but not often seen.

If you’re won­der­ing where the bob­cats are liv­ing in Cape Bre­ton, it’s a se­cret.

Of­fi­cials with the Nova Scotia Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources say bob­cats are com­mon in Cape Bre­ton and across the prov­ince.

“You don’t see bob­cats be­cause they don’t want to be seen,” said Mark Pul­sifer of Antigo­nish, a wildlife bi­ol­o­gist and Nat­u­ral Re­sources man­ager for the eastern re­gion.

“They are a se­cre­tive an­i­mal. They are out there, we just don’t see them often.”

Pul­sifer said although bob­cats are com­mon in the prov­ince, he has worked as a bi­ol­o­gist for Nat­u­ral Re­sources for 28 years and has only seen three bob­cats and has been in­volved in only one in­ci­dent with the an­i­mal.

Pul­sifer said DNR did re­ceive a call last week re­gard­ing a bobcat sight­ing in Glace Bay.

“There wasn’t a com­plaint,” he said. “The per­son was just ex­cited to see one and wanted to let us know she had.”“

He said bob­cats tend to stay in their habi­tat in the woods usu­ally ar­eas where there is a mix of soft­wood and wet­lands, where its prey tend to live and where there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to seek cover as well.

A bobcat’s three main sources of food are snow­shoe hares, mice and squir­rels.

“If you are walk­ing and hiking and a bobcat is around it will ei­ther ig­nore you, hide or leave the area.”

How­ever he said although bob­cats do not come out of the woods often, be­cause of all the snow this win­ter, the bobcat spot­ted in Glace Bay might have been hun­gry.

He said peo­ple do not need to worry about their pets as it would be un­likely a bobcat would at­tempt to eat a cat or other small pet.

He said this time of year a hun­gry bobcat could go af­ter birds at feed­ers so any­one con­cerned should keep ar­eas around feed­ers clean and pick up any spillage.

He said ba­si­cally a bobcat is a beau­ti­ful an­i­mal and peo­ple don’t need to be scared of it.

“A bobcat doesn’t look at peo­ple as prey,” he said. “They are more afraid of us then we are of them. It’s a beau­ti­ful an­i­mal we should ap­pre­ci­ate and not be overly afraid of. Never to my knowl­edge has a bobcat acted ag­gres­sively to­ward a hu­man in the prov­ince.”

How­ever Pul­sifer said as with all wildlife peo­ple should never ap­proach or feed them.

He said if some­one sees a bobcat — or any wildlife — and sus­pects the an­i­mal is sick or in­jured they should con­tact DNR in Syd­ney at 902-5633370.

“With any sit­u­a­tion like that or if some­one feels threat­ened they can call us.”

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Seen here is a bobcat at the Shube­nacadie Pro­vin­cial Wildlife Park, taken in the sum­mer of 2007. Of­fi­cials with the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources say bob­cats are com­mon in Nova Scotia but peo­ple don’t often see them be­cause they don’t want to be seen.

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