Turns out it was a bobcat, not a mountain lion that was caught on camera in upstate New York in a video that quickly went viral, according to an expert.
Cici Marie LaPierre posted a video on Facebook that has since gone viral on social media of an animal that was walking on Main Street in Saranac Lake last month.
In the video, one of the passengers in the vehicle questions whether it is a mountain lion, as it looks back before going on its way. Some commenters on social media noted that the animal in the video may not be a mountain lion, but could be a bobcat, cougar, lynx, or similar predators.
However, Dana Goin, the Wildlife Outreach Specialist at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, says that the animal caught in the video was not a mountain lion, and instead, it is a bobcat.
“Though the lack of scale is likely what has contributed to the confusion about this animals’ identity, the very clearly truncated tail is the first indicator that this is a bobcat versus a mountain lion,” she said. “To add to the identifying characteristics, when the bobcat then turns its head you can clearly see a large tuft of fur at the base of its chin.
“Mountain lions have short fur throughout, while bobcats sport longer cheek and chin fur. Additionally, you can see the distinct white marks on the back of the animals’ ears, a characteristic that distinguishes bobcats from mountain lions in more difficult-to-discern photos.”
Goin noted that eastern mountain lions did once exist in New York State, but they are now extinct.
“There has not been a population of mountain lions in New York State since the late 19th century. Bobcats, however, do occur and are quite common though elusive. They are significantly smaller than mountain lions, averaging 15 pounds to 35 pounds, whereas mountain lions range from 80 pounds to160 pounds.”
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, “mountain lions do not have a native, self-sustaining population in New York State. They have been absent from this state since the late 1800s; however, there have been a few isolated sightings. Each sighting involved cougars that are not native to New York.
“A couple of sightings involved captive mountain lions that escaped from licensed facilities in New York State. Another sighting involved a wild cougar that traveled through New York as it trekked nearly 1,800 miles east from its native population in South Dakota.”
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