Rare black bobcat donated to New Brunswick Museum for study
The rare melanistic bobcat is now awaiting taxidermy before going on display in Saint John
A rare all-black bobcat will soon be on public display at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, thanks to donations from a trio of hunting and wildlife groups.
Veteran trapper Oswald McFadden snared the melanistic bobcat on Christmas Day, drawing waves of attention online and sparking a bidding war among private collectors. The Cocagne outdoorsman was offered thousands of dollars and an all-inclusive hunting trip out West to give up the cat.
In the end, McFadden agreed to sell the carcass — for considerably less than what private buyers were offering — to the New Brunswick Wildlife Association, Moncton Area Trappers Council, and New Brunswick Trappers and Fur Harvesters.
The groups immediately donated the bobcat to the New Brunswick Museum.
"There's actually quite a bit of interest in cats generally, in the genetics of these animals. And everyone agreed it was important to keep this animal in New Brunswick."
- Black bobcat snared in N.B., only 12th ever recorded in North America
- Appearance of black bobcats in New Brunswick puzzles biologist
The plan is to have the bobcat mounted, and the museum is now looking for a taxidermist who can do a "museum-grade job," McAlpine said.
The donors said they were motivated by a desire to keep the rare bobcat in New Brunswick.
"We really wanted to keep it close to home," said Kevin White, service president of the Moncton area fur council. "And make it available for the public to enjoy."
"And it's very fitting to give the animal to the museum, in order for them to study, because it's so rare."
Before the cat was trapped in December, McAlpine was only aware of two other melanistic bobcats being recorded in New Brunswick. But with the recent interest in the animal, he said, he has come across more cases of the all-black animal.
"I've been doing a bit of checking around and it turns out there are about five or six cases of melanism in bobcats in New Brunswick," McAlpine said. "It's quite unusual. Most other cases of melanism in these cats are contained to animals in more tropical regions."
Other than the handful of New Brunswick cases, only a dozen other black bobcats have been recorded, all from southern Florida.
McFadden was offered thousands of dollars from private collectors and groups for his Christmas Day catch. He was also offered a trade for an all-inclusive elk-hunting trip in the West, but turned all of the private offers down to keep the animal in the province.
"It's really great to see that he was able to assist us on this," White said. "It's not about a greed complex. It was very much about providing the specimen for public education going ahead."