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Biologist says animal print from Northern Peninsula was from a bear, not a big wild cat

Provincial wildlife officials say a paw print a Northern Peninsula man suspected belonged to a large wild cat was more likely made by a bear.
Provincial wildlife officials say a paw print a Northern Peninsula man suspected belonged to a large wild cat was more likely made by a bear.

Provincial wildlife officials say a paw print a Northern Peninsula man suspected belonged to a large wild cat was more likely made by a bear.

In an article published by The Western Star last Saturday, Greg Patey recounted his alleged encounter with a large black cat on the Batteau Barren’s forest access road between River of Ponds and Bellburns one evening in October 2010.

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Patey provided a photo of a large animal print he found when he went back to the site the following morning. He said he never had the paw print positively identified.

The Western Star forwarded copies of the photo to the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources for an opinion. On Wednesday, a department spokesperson said that a wildlife division biologist had examined the images and had determined the paw prints appear to be from a black bear.

Patey’s story may have been from seven years ago, but there have been multiple reported sightings of either black cats or brown or beige cougars on the island of Newfoundland in recent years.

There were two reports of a black cat being spotted in the Deer Lake area this October alone. Those sightings prompted public advisories to be issued by the Town of Deer Lake and the Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority.

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