Panther sighting reported in Louisiana; coyote sightings reported in Ohio; and a Correction to the Rabies Vaccine Bait program in Texas reported January 28, 2011.

Black Panther. Photo by Bruce McAdam. Wikipedia Commons.

Louisiana 02/02/11 by Janet McConnaughey – Folks in the Plaquemines Parish hamlet of Phoenix are convinced there’s a black panther or cougar lurking in the woods and skulking up to snarf up dog food. A Plaquemines Parish deputy says he saw it. A state biologist thinks it’s most likely mistaken identity.  The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office sent up a helicopter Tuesday to look for the critter, and Parish President Billy Nungesser e-mailed a message warning parish residents to watch out for a “large black undomesticated cat.”  “The cat may be aggressive and people are recommended to avoid it, keep pets indoors, and call 911 if you see it,” he wrote.

Whatever it is, it hasn’t attacked anyone in this community of about 250 people 30 miles south of New Orleans. People have told the sheriff’s office it has eaten food put out for their dogs.  It’s easy to mistake size at a quick glance, and details can get confused, said Maria Davidson, large carnivore program manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  She said she often gets calls about possible cougar sightings. “People get very insulted when I suggest, ‘Do you think it could really be a domestic house cat?’ But I suggest that because it happens.”  The house cat-serval crossbreeds called Savannah cats can get up to 35 pounds and occasionally are black, said breeder Judith Miller of Kaymankatz in North Olmstead, Ohio.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Cullum said he got cell phone photographs Tuesday of a big cat’s footprints. Davidson, sent copies by the parish animal control officer, said, “They are distinctly textbook canid” — a dog or coyote.  Cullum said a big black cat leaped up from behind a log in front of him Saturday afternoon, when he went to check a report that dogs had treed such an animal.  He showed up with his own share of skepticism. “We had been having reports of the cat. We weren’t sure if people were overexaggerating a wildcat or what,” he said.  It wasn’t yet 3 p.m. when he went looking for it. “I walked through the woods and jumped it up from a dead tree. It was 12 feet in front of me. … I got a good look at it,” Cullum said.

He estimated Tuesday that it was about 4 feet from nose to rump, 6 feet long from nose to tailtip, 40 to 42 inches at the shoulder.  That’s about the size of a cougar — an animal whose scientific name, Felis concolor, means “cat of a single color.”  “Cougars don’t come in black,” said Davidson. “They are fawn, they are brown, they are tawny, whatever you want to call them. They are one color.”  Cougars once were common across Louisiana. But Davidson said the last verified sighting of a cougar in southeast Louisiana was about eight years ago in a state park near St. Martinville, about 120 miles west of Phoenix.  “When the calls begin with ‘it’s a black panther,’ then you automatically have to start deciphering things,” she said.  She said the world’s six big cats include only two — jaguars and the black leopards known as panthers — that are ever solid black. Those are so wildly expensive that people are unlikely to have them as pets, she said.

Local lore has it that a man in neighboring St. Bernard Parish had a pair of panthers that he released into the swamp either just before or after Hurricane Katrina, said Maj. John Marie, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “We haven’t verified it. But that’s the story all over Plaquemines and St. Bernard,” he said.  He said bad weather interrupted Tuesday’s air and foot search, but it will resume once weather permits.

Ohio 02/02/11 by Dick Martin – [A recent article by Dick Martin published in the Mansfield News Journal] brought a disquieting e-mail from Ginnie Baker, who lives near Bellville.  “Our coyote population is way out of control,” she said. “During deer season, my neighbors saw more coyotes than deer on their farm when they were out hunting. To date, I believe they have killed approximately nine coyotes.  “We no longer see squirrels on our land. Several years ago, another neighbor lost several lambs to coyotes that dragged them under the fence. Approximately six weeks ago, the coyotes were very close to my home at night, howling. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.  “We know there is a den on the neighbors property … they walk up and down the lane, some as big as very large German Shepherds!  “We have an outdoor wood furnace and my partner cuts a lot of firewood. He was out a couple of months ago (broad daylight) and a coyote was very close, just watching him. He now carries a .22 with him when he cuts wood. Another neighbor had one sitting on their porch! Again, broad daylight.  “They are getting too numerous and too bold.”

Correction 02/02/11:  The image used with a January 28, 2011, post on this

Merial's Raboral V-RG Rabies Vaccine Bait.

blog was erroneous.  It was not an image of Merial’s Raboral V-RG Rabies Vaccine Bait, which is being distributed by the Brownsville Health Department and the Texas Department of State Health Services in selected rural areas of southern Cameron County.  The image posted on this blog entry has been corrected.


12 responses to “Panther sighting reported in Louisiana; coyote sightings reported in Ohio; and a Correction to the Rabies Vaccine Bait program in Texas reported January 28, 2011.

  1. to all the skeptics that don’t want panthers in Louisiana, I recently took a photo on my trail camera with a juvenile cat eating near a feeder. Two years ago, a panther was shot and killed in Bossier Parish and was verified by
    Wildlife agents. Knowing the small cat had parents, I always kept a close eye when coming and going into the woods. I had four deer walk away from me one evening and within 20 minutes, one of the parents were following these deer in a half run. Now in March, my trail camera has shown pictures of does with claw marks on both sides of their rumps with peices of meat hanging from the rib cage. Now I ask the skeptics, do you want to see the picture of the cat…picture of the does…because it’s only one thing that can do this damage to a doe. Yes I was told by agents that they don’t exist, just due to panic from people. The cat in Bossier was tested through dna and didn’t come from the Texas strain or from Florida. It came from South America. Just because you don’t see them…don’t think their not there..

    • kathy bourgeois

      I agree that people don’t want to believe that such a large cat could exist here in louisiana. The truth is they are here and not just a few. I have seen with my own eye’s a full grown tawny panther not 50 feet from my front door at about 2 a.m. a little over a year ago. My niece who is an artist and is familiar with how to make plaster casts came out the next day and got some very large panther prints. That siting was in bush which backs up to the bogue chitto wilderness area. i have also seen a panther on a forestry road near enon as well as out in south west louisiana near the town of churchpoint. I feel that people have the right to know what animals exist here. Sincerly kathy bourgeois

    • i would like to see these pictures pleas i live in pineville louisiana in a little town called kolin and its close to ruby louisiana and i hear about panthers all the time and i find it real interesting so please i would love to c the pictures if you still have them and also i would like you to email me new stories about panthers in loouisiana please my email is i would really appreciate it thank you

  2. I oversee about 250 acres in Evangeline Parish. One of my employees came to me and was shaken up he said he jumped a large black cat which he called a panther, although it is probably a jaguar. I went to where he saw it and saw an outline of tracks not good enough for a pic but they looked like a large cat larger than a bobcat . We have a permit to trap pests and have trapped several bobcats and coyotes. Chicot State park is not far and I have heard reports of a large cat there.

  3. I’m from Rapides and i can remember as a child us kids playing outside and having this panther watch us,also about five years ago one of the neighbors husband got up to go to work and in their front yard right under the security light was two black panthers just laying there,this is a very wooded and swampy area,also my brother was riding his motorcycle on this same road late at night and he saw one right by the road,so now they say we don’t have panthers,that’s a lie,because we’ve seen them and also the big tan cat’s.

  4. I am absolutely with you guys on this one. Just this morning I saw a cat at least 3′ long with a tail almost as long as the body walking alongside I-10 somewhere around the sorrento exit. I am neither blind or stupid, and has watched enough nature shows to say to myself (as I passed it) that was an freaking mountain lion!! I’m not sure what parish I was in but it was absolutely a cougar! Don’t exist my ass!!!!

  5. Why is it that melanism is recognized as a naturally-occuring genetic mutation, yet American Wildlife “Experts” are adamant that melanism never, ever, occurs in this one species? It occurs among Jaguars, Leopards, even Bobcats but NO! It can NEVER occur in Felis Concolor!!
    I’ve seen one, they do exist, regardless of whatever the opinions of so-called “Experts”.

  6. I believe you are right completely

  7. Tales of panthiers roaming South Louisiana have been around since before the Civil War. Check out this link of old stories from the Galveston Daily Newspaper.

  8. I don’t care what she says I had a picture of one on my deer Camera in Bourg, Louisiana. I have been hunting all my life and know a domestic cat from a panther. How does she know can she swear on a Bible on oath their isn’t any panthers down here.?

  9. About 8 or 9 years ago I heard what sounded like a woman scream. I was outside walking my nephews dog. Just a few minutes later, I saw this big cat come out of the woods next door to me. I watched it as it came to a small tree, stop raise it’s tail, looked like it was urinenating on the tree. It started slowing walking aross my back pasture. I ask a friend “what is that”. I clapped my hands, it stopped and looked at me then slowly loped toward the banks of the bayou behind my house then down the bank and disappeared into the woods. This was on Lower Zachary Road, Zachary Louisiana. I moved to Texas 6 years ago, my niece owns the property now. A miniature horse I left with her was found dead down in the bayou. He was in a stall in the barn with a paddock where he could go in and out of his stall. There was evidence of him being killed in the paddock dragged under a pannel that was part of his paddock. I never they were there until I heard andsaw for myself. Zachary is about 13 miles north of Baton Rouge.

  10. Great paintings! This is the kind of information that should be shared around the internet. Shame on Google for now not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thank you =)

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