The Lands and Forestry Department is going to have a wildlife biologist investigate after a trailcam in Antigonish County captured a picture of an animal some believe to be a cougar.
The picture was posted online at journalist Andrew Macdonald’s site TheMacdonaldNotebook.ca and shows a large cat in a wooded area.
Typically, a trailcam is a camouflaged camera mounted on a tree or other structure and can be triggered by motion in front of it to capture photos of animals in the field.
A copy of the photograph was also dropped off at the department’s regional office in Antigonish.
Macdonald is not revealing the exact location where the photo was taken, but does attest that it is not a fake. He said in the post that it was taken at night in mid-August near the Riverside International Raceway in James River.
Bruce Nunn, a spokesman for Lands and Forestry, said via email that department biologists have reviewed the photo and believe it may be a bobcat, based on the short tail.
“It is difficult to assess the animal’s size in the grainy picture so a regional biologist will visit the site and take measurements of the trees in the photo to help determine the scale,” Nunn said in the email.
The length of the cat’s tail appears to be somewhat obscured by a tree in the foreground.
Nunn said determining the scale of the location will help determine the size of the animal, which will help confirm the species.
The eastern cougar is officially designated as extinct, although there are occasional reported sightings.
“The department has, to date, not seen any evidence of an eastern cougar population in Nova Scotia, although we document all reported sightings,” Nunn’s email said. “Bobcats are abundant in the province.”