Nova Scotia

Cougar proof eludes biologist

Wildlife biologist Fred Scott has heard the stories about cougars in Nova Scotia, but he's still waiting for proof.

Wildlife biologist Fred Scott has heard the stories about cougars in Nova Scotia, but he's still waiting for proof.

Scott, a researcher based at Acadia University, will talk about the elusive Eastern cougar at a public presentation Thursday night in Caledonia.

"The fact is that there probably are cougars in Nova Scotia. We just haven't been able to prove it yet," he told CBC News.

The Department of Natural Resources receives 25 to 50 reports of cougar sightings every year. There is often chatter about the animal on web forums and discussion groups.

Last year, two families in northern Nova Scotia suspected that cougars attacked their horses.

Scott isn't convinced yet that there are cougars in the province.

"These photos that I have seen are often very clearly tabby cats or black cats, and cougars are never black in North America," he said.

Wildlife officials are still waiting for physical evidence to prove that cougars are here, whether it's scat, fur or animal tracks. Officially, there are no cougars in Nova Scotia.

In New Brunswick, however, biologists have found cougar fur.

That may be grist for the true believers in Nova Scotia.

"Sometimes it's very hard to convince them that they might be wrong. But there is no way of knowing for sure. Only the person who saw it can know for sure," Scott said.

Scott's talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Masonic Hall.