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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

On this fine New Years day we discuss melanism-----"Melanism is a development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism"..........."It is thought that this adaptation gives animals a competitive advantage in survival and reproduction as they become better camouflaged in their environment"..........."It perhaps also helps up the odds of success for those carnivores that hunt their prey at night"..................And just last weekend, on Christmas day in New Brunswick, Canada near Henry Lake, the 12th recorded melanistic(black) Bobcat was snared in a hunters trap.............Every melanistic Bobcat that has been discovered in North America haas either come out of New Brunswick or Florida,,,,,,,,,,,,Biologists are not able to explain this phenomena as of this time

Appearance of black bobcats in New Brunswick puzzles biologist

Black Bobcat Snared in N.B., Only 12th Ever Recorded in North America

No apparent ecological or environmental reason the cat should be more 

prevalent in Florida and N.B.

By Shane Fowler, CBC Posted: Dec 29, 2016 

A New Brunswick biologist says he can't explain why New Brunswick appears to be one of just two places in the world where pure black bobcats have been found.
Last Sunday, a melanistic bobcat was found dead in a trapper's snare near Cocagne, the third such animal ever found in New Brunswick.

Florida is the only other place the rare felines have been reported. 
"The obvious question is why Florida and New Brunswick?" Donald McAlpine, the research curator and head of zoology at the New Brunswick Museum, wrote in an email.    
"I don't have a good answer for that. I can't see any ecological or environmental reason it should be more prevalent in Florida and New Brunswick over other jurisdictions." 
McAlpine says it may simply be that melanistic cats are not being observed and recorded in other areas. 
"Another possibility is the random appearance and persistence of this genetic mutation in the two localities," McAlpine said.
"My guess is that melanistic bobcats probably have appeared elsewhere from time to time but have not been reported, for whatever reason." 
Melanistic animals have a genetic trait that causes their skin pigment to be expressed completely black. It is regarded as the opposite of albinism, where pigment is not expressed at all and animals appear completely white. 
McAlpine confirmed Thursday that the bobcat snared on Christmas Day was the third such animal ever found in New Brunswick.
A paper he co-authored in 1995 with Jay Tischendorf, "A Melanistic Bobcat from Outside Florida," stated the only other case of melanism found in a Canadian bobcat was in a male juvenile trapped in November 1983.

But another animal found in Gaspereau Forks was obtained by the New Brunswick Museum in 2013. McAlpine confirmed that nothing had been published about the 2013 animal. 
"This second record is represented by a specimen (skin, skeleton, dried tissue, frozen tissue) in the [museum] collection," wrote McAlpine. 
Only 10 other melanistic bobcats have been reported, all in Florida. 
Trapper Oswald McFadden told CBC News he is considering giving the animal to the New Brunswick Museum. He has been offered cash and hunting trips for the body of the cat he found in the trap line he has maintained for the last decade. 
Regardless of McFadden's decision it seems at least part of the rare cat will make its way to the museum for research.  
"The [museum] would be very interested in the skin, ideally still attached to the carcass," wrote McAlpine, adding that a skinned carcass would still be turned over to the museum for research purposes. 

Melanism in the Felidae, with Special Reference to the Genus Lynx

 Restricted access
Marin County, florida melanistic Bobcat discovered in 1939

 First published online: 14 August 1941

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