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
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.