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Cat caught on camera: Kelowna bobcat video goes viral

Click to play video: 'Cat caught on camera: Okanagan family'
Cat caught on camera: Okanagan family
WATCH: A chance encounter caught on camera goes viral, after an Okanagan family captures a surprise animal visit on video. Lauren Pullen reports – Jan 27, 2017

A Kelowna bobcat is getting some international attention after an Okanagan resident posted an up-close encounter on YouTube earlier this week.

Mike Talarico spotted the cat out his kitchen window Saturday afternoon and reached for his camcorder nearby.

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He posted the video online to send along to friends and family, but it quickly went viral, making the top 20 of YouTube trending videos.

The big debate brewing online: if the animal was a bobcat or a lynx.

“Without a doubt this one is a bobcat,” said bobcat and lynx specialist TJ Gooliaff.

Gooliaff is spearheading a study with UBC Okanagan on the distribution of lynx and bobcats throughout B.C., using photos from residents to help track where the cats are at what time of year.

READ MORE: Is global warming impacting the Okanagan’s bobcat and lynx population?

There have been an increase in the number of bobcat sightings in residential areas of the Okanagan in recent weeks, but Gooliaff isn’t all that surprised.

“There does seem to be quite a few bobcats hanging around town right now,” he said. “This time of year, in the winter, you usually do see a large number of bobcat sightings and that’s because of snow. They’re being pushed down from the high elevations, going down to the low elevations where there’s less snow. Turns out that’s also where people like to live.”

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So far, one of the biggest things he’s learned is that bobcats are a lot farther north in B.C. than first thought – living as far as Prince George.

He is continuing to collect pictures and videos from residents for the next few months. If you have any to pass along, you can email him at tj.gooliaff@ubc.ca.

While Talarico and his family are a bit taken aback by the online attention, they’re still relishing their chance encounter with a magnificent looking cat.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. That was pretty impressive,” Talarico said.

 

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