Washington DC

Bobcat Spotted Prowling Woods in Northwest DC

"My heart skipped a beat"

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Photographs of a bobcat lurking in the woods near the C&O Canal in Northwest Washington, D.C., have some excited, others worried — and a lot of people talking.

"We are 100 percent certain that this is a bobcat," Dan Herrera, with the Humane Rescue Alliance, told News4.

Herrera said a motion-activated camera set up along the C&O Canal near the Palisades neighborhood recently captured the stunning images of the bobcat.

Herrera has spent the last 18 months counting cats for the DC Cat Count project, a collaboration between the Humane Rescue Alliance and the Smithsonian to find out how many wild and domesticated cats are roaming the city's streets and woods.

To do that, Herrera set up motion-activated cameras across D.C.

"We have placed over a thousand cameras so far. At any given time, we have about 150 in the field," Herrera said.

The project has gathered more than 4.5 million photographs so far of not only cats, but anything that moves in front of the cameras.

Scrolling through all of the photos is a tedious process, but the bobcat quickly captured Herrera's eye.

"Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, deer, bobcat! Just out of nowhere. My heart skipped a beat," he said.

Experts say it is the first recorded sighting of a bobcat in D.C.

"It is not what we were expecting to see," Herrera said. "The closest sighting we’ve seen verified by Smithsonian is about 45 miles away."

Herrera says residents shouldn't be worried. Bobcats typically stick to hunting rabbits and squirrels.

The lone cat likely wandered into D.C. looking for something other than food, Herrera said.

"I would speculate he’s looking for love."

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