Black bobcat snared in N.B., only 12th ever recorded in North America
Oswald McFadden trapped a rare black bobcat on Christmas Day near Cocagne, in southeastern New Brunswick
A New Brunswick trapper snared something unexpected on Christmas Day — a rare melanistic bobcat.
Studies indicate only one other black bobcat has been caught in Canada.
"I thought it was a house cat," said Oswald McFadden, who has run the same trapline for the last decade.
"When I saw the tail I knew it wasn't a house cat. Then I looked at the ears, I knew it was definitely a bobcat."
Much like jaguars, this bobcat's spots and markings can still be seen in bright lights.
"It's a soft and beautiful coat," said McFadden.
"I've been in these woods all my life and never seen anything like this."
According to the 1995 paper, A Melanistic Bobcat from Outside Florida, written by Jay Tischendorf and Donald McAlpine, the only other case of melanism found in a Canadian bobcat was dated in November 1983.
The black male bobcat was trapped near Henry Lake and is now mounted at the New Brunswick Museum.
The article says only 10 other melanistic bobcats have ever been recorded — all found in Florida.
"They usually are — but it was Christmas — so I guess I can't blame them for that."
McFadden's pictures of the big cat have been shared thousands of times online.
It's gotten to the point where American hunters are claiming the animal was caught in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania.
"It's weird the way the internet works," said McFadden.
"But this was here basically in my own backyard where I live and grew up."
"I don't know, I can't answer that," said McFadden. "An albino deer, I saw one last year and I didn't shoot it, so?"
McFadden might donate the animal to a museum, sell it, or mount it for himself.
So far he's had offers from those willing to purchase the carcass worth $1,000, or in exchange for a guided bow-hunting trip to hunt elk.