FALMOUTH, Mass. – A bobcat has been spotted on Cape Cod for the first time in centuries, according to state and local wildlife experts who reviewed a video shot by a Falmouth man earlier this month.
Chris LeBoeuf spotted an animal about the size of a small to medium dog when he was returning home at about midnight on Aug. 9. The animal disappeared into the woods when he drove in, but then it came back out, and stood on top of a rock wall about 8 to 10 feet from LeBoeuf’s car.
“Very quietly, I pulled out my phone,” he said, and made a half-minute video.
When the cat turned to leave, LeBoeuf saw the little tail, and he realized he saw “some sort of exotic cat.”
State and local wildlife officials later took a look and confirmed that it was a bobcat, which haven’t been seen on Cape Cod since Colonial times.
A black bear caused a stir on the Cape last year before it was captured and relocated to the western part of the state. It was the first time in memory a black bear had been seen in the region.
Jason Zimmer, director of the southeast district of the state fisheries and wildlife division, tells the Cape Cod Times it’s unclear how the cat made it across the Cape Cod Canal. It’s unlikely it swam across, and more likely that it crossed one of the two bridges from the mainland.
“It’s exciting to see wild animals like bears and bobcats returning” Zimmer said.
Since the Aug. 9 video, staff from Falmouth’s Marine and Environmental Services placed cameras around LeBoeuf’s neighborhood to capture more bobcat video, so far unsuccessfully, said deputy director Chuck Martinsen.
The estimated statewide bobcat population is about 1,200 to 1,300.