Niles Fairbairn, Animal Trapper

Niles Fairbairn, noted animal trainer and outdoorsman, added one more-hair raising experience to his interesting life over New Year's when a trapped bobcat got loose unexpectedly.

Fairbairn, who is 78 and caretaker at Alder Lake Boy Scout Reservation, owned by the Nassau County Council, set out a trap for a gray fox he had observed hanging around near Fairbairn's house. On checking the trap New Year's day he discovered a bobcat in the trap, one of the biggest cats he had ever seen. Fairbairn estimated that the cat weighed nearly fifty pounds.

He returned to the house for a special net he had designed to capture vicious animals that he wanted to capture alive. It is a bag fastened to a hoop on the end of a pole which he drops over the animal and ties the open end. The other end is also rigged with a slip cord that can be loosened to free an animal in a cage.

After bagging the animal and taking it to the house, he placed it on the ground while preparing a cage for him, when somehow the animal worked the rope loose on the bag and escaped. The cat, on seeing Fairbairn, backed into a corner of the house to do battle.

Faced with a cornered animal, Fairbairn didn't dare turn his back or run or else he could have been attacked. Facing the cat at all times, he managed to secure another trap and a broom handle that were near by. He wedged the set trap on the broom handle and pushed it at the cat, who cuffed at it and trapped himself a second time. This time when Fairbairn netted the cat he fastened the top with wire.

This bobcat and another Niles had taken a week earlier, a 25 pound female, he has sold to a wild animal dealer. Fairbairn gathered quite some fame when he trained a pair of otter that were featured in a Walt Disney film.

This postcard shows Niles Fairbairn with a record-setting trout.


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