More Black Panther sightings in Tennessee; West Nile Virus reports from California, Connecticut, and Nebraska; and Rabies reports from Florida, Maryland, New Jersey (2), New York, and Texas. Canada: Coyote report from British Columbia. Travel Warnings for Republic of the Congo.

Black panther. Photo by Bruce McAdam. Wikimedia Commons.

Tennessee 07/01/11 During the week of June 5, 2011, Buddy LaJuett of Tennessee, his family members, and their neighbors say they sighted two black panthers.  “These cats were within 50 feet of the house and the yard where the children play,” Buddy said. He described them as about 30 inches tall and 5 feet long with 3 foot long tails. “At night the eyes appear to glow yellow in the light of a flashlight.  One was actually seen by my wife during day light hours, just about dusk, and it was only about 50 foot away,” he said. “There has been no sign of the cats in a couple of weeks now.  They possibly came off the mountain due to a small fire and have moved on,” Buddy said, adding, “These cats DO EXIST!”

The sightings were in Tennessee in an area very close to Chilhowee Mountain. The Foothills Parkway of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs along the crest. The Six Mile area is along TN State Rte 336 between US 129 and Montvale Road, a section known as Six Mile Road, in an area where private homes are located on Mutton Hollow Road. The nearest town is Maryville, the county seat for Blount County.

California 07/01/11 Mosquito and vector control inspectors have detected West Nile virus in a dead American crow found in Walnut Creek, marking Contra Costa County’s first confirmed incident of the virus this year, a district spokeswoman said. About four or five people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus every year since 2006, said Deborah Bass, a spokeswoman for the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District.

Connecticut 07/01/11 Press Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Bridgeport on June 21, 2011 have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. “The detection of infected mosquitoes in June suggests early amplification of virus activity. With warming temperatures, the isolation of West Nile virus in mosquitoes can be expected to increase and expand to other areas of the state throughout the summer,” said Theodore G. Andreadis, Ph.D., Chief Medical Entomologist, CAES. In 2010, WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 24 municipalities; the first were trapped on June 14. In addition, last year eleven Connecticut residents were identified with WNV infections. For information on West Nile virus and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at

Florida 06/30/11 The Clay County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for the 32073 zip code in the Woodland Drive area of Orange Park after a confirmed case of rabies in a raccoon was reported. There are no reported human exposures to the raccoon but one pet was exposed, the Health Department said on Wednesday, June 29. For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website:; or

Maryland 06/30/11 Health officials said Thursday afternoon that a rabid raccoon was found in Gwynn Oak. The Baltimore County Department of Health said the raccoon was recovered in the 6700 block of Townbrook Drive. The raccoon was not known to have had direct contact with any humans, according to the health department. Officials did say some youth were seen in proximity to the animal Wednesday morning. Anyone who needs more information should call the department at 410-887-2243 during normal business hours. More information about rabies can be found by clicking here.

Nebraska 07/01/11 Mosquito pools in three Nebraska counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. The state Department of Health and Human Services says the positive results came from recent tests done in Madison, Dawson, and Douglas counties. Nebraska’s chief medical officer, Joann Schaefer, says it’s still early in the season so the virus will likely surface elsewhere in the state. She urges people to take precautions, such as wearing mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants outside when mosquitoes are active. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Last year in Nebraska, there were 48 confirmed human cases and two deaths from West Nile.

New Jersey 06/30/11 by Debra Winters – Mayor Chris Vergano recently announced that on June 16, the Wayne Health Department received notice that a 7 to 9 week old tabby kitten found in the vicinity of Runnymede Drive tested positive for the rabies virus. Residents that may have been bitten, scratched, or handled stray cats or kittens since May 31 are urged to contact the Wayne Health Department immediately at 973-694-9295 and their own physician as well. The sick kitten was initially discovered by a woman walking her dog. The resident returned with gloves and brought it to a veterinarian in Franklin Lakes. It bit a vet technician there but the employee was not harmed. The feline was exhibiting signs of neurological impairment and was quickly tested and euthanized following its positive result, explained Maryann Orapello, Wayne health officer. “The resident was very smart to use gloves before handling the animal,” Orapello said.

New Jersey 06/30/11 by Davy James – A stray cat caught by Animal Control last week on Sturgis Road in Kendall Park tested positive for rabies.  The cat was captured on June 24 after displaying signs of neurological damage that included a wobbly gait, swaying, hissing and stumbling.  Residents who may have come in contact with a stray cat exhibiting signs of rabies are advised to contact the South Brunswick Health Department.  Residents are also being asked to not feed stray cats in their neighborhood. “These cats are becoming troublesome to the township and the Health Department is concerned,” said Mayor Frank Gambatese. “Residents mean well by feeding them but it’s not helping the situation.”

New York 06/30/11 Oneida County’s first confirmed case of animal rabies in 2011 has been reported to the Oneida County Health Department, an official announced Thursday. A family pet in the Clinton area was attacked and bitten several times by a raccoon that subsequently tested positive for the deadly virus, Bobbi Jo Girven, Rabies Treatment and Prevention Coordinator for the department said. “The small dog survived the attack, but was not up-to-date on its rabies immunizations and will, as a result, have to be euthanized,” Girven said. For more information on rabies or for a complete schedule of rabies clinics, contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315-798-5064 or visit the web site at

Texas 06/30/11 by Ashley Paredez — Five cases of rabies in skunks have been reported in Potter County. The Texas Department of State Health Services says all the cases have been reported north or northwest of Amarillo. Last year there was only one reported case in the area. They remind residents to keep pets up to date on vaccinations and keep food put up. If you see wild animals around your home or pets call the sheriff’s office at 379-2900.


British Columbia 06/30/11 by Monisha Martins – Don’t feel sorry for a pack of coyotes who’ve been displaced from their homes by logging on a piece of private property in south Pitt Meadows. The animals, including a mother with seven pups, have been spotted roaming around Osprey Village and crossing busy thoroughfares at Harris Road and Airport Way. “They are going crazy and being very protective about their pups,” said Coun. Tracy Miyashita, who asked council on Tuesday if the city could do something about the problem. However, the B.C. Conservation Service recommends doing nothing, other than making sure garbage, pets and pet food are secure so the coyotes can’t find an easy snack.

Denny Chrétien, a conservation officer, said coyotes are quick to migrate from dens. “In the wild, it’s a very natural thing to do,” he explains. “Most coyotes or canines already have multiple dens set up in their range that they move to immediately after a threat. When they lose their fear of humans, then that’s a problem.” The conservation service has received three calls reporting coyotes near Osprey Village since June 1. Since the beginning of the year, the Tri-City area, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows generated a total of 28 calls about coyotes. Of those, only two involved aggressive animals, while three were pet kills. Smaller than a wolf, and more adaptable, the coyote is one of the few mammals whose range is increasing, despite extensive persecution by people.

In Canada, the coyote still lives in its traditional habitats – the aspen parkland and grasslands in the three prairie provinces. However, it has spread north into the boreal forest, west into the mountains, and east into Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces. “You can’t straight out blame the bulldozers. Coyotes love being in the open air,” said Chrétien. “They like fields because they feed on mice. It’s all natural what people are observing. Those pups are now exploring their boundaries. Until a few of them either get hit by vehicles, shot or trapped, then their demeanour will change. It’s all part of natural selection.” It is not normal for coyotes to attack or pursue humans, especially adults. Problems between children and coyotes are usually the result of the coyote becoming conditioned or comfortable with people as a result of direct or indirect feeding. Children shouldn’t be left unsupervised if a coyote is in area.

Travel Warnings:

Republic of the Congo 07/01/11 An epidemic of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, which began in early June in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, has spread to the neighbouring Pool region, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Between 1 and 23 June, there were 7,014 cases in Brazzaville and 460 in Pool, but no deaths, according to WHO. In Pool, which endured a series of civil wars between 1998 and 2003, damaging the local health infrastructure, only the towns of Goma Tse Tse and Kinkala, the regional capital, are affected. In Brazzaville, the disease is concentrated in southern districts, including Makélékélé and Bacongo.


3 responses to “More Black Panther sightings in Tennessee; West Nile Virus reports from California, Connecticut, and Nebraska; and Rabies reports from Florida, Maryland, New Jersey (2), New York, and Texas. Canada: Coyote report from British Columbia. Travel Warnings for Republic of the Congo.

  1. My sister just spotted a black panther on the way op her driveway on Tuesday, Nov.15, 2011 at around 8:45 pm. She cought it’s eyes in her headlights and at first thought it was one of the local labradors. “But then it hissed ad me”. As she was driving up she looked in her sideview morrior and noticed its long black tail the hung down with the top part of it up. She went to her computer and lookup to see if East Tennesse had black cats and sure enough, ..We Do! We live in Blount County in the Butterfly Gap area…near the foothills parkway.

  2. In Oct. 2011, I was driving up the back way from Tellico Plains to Coker Creek in Monroe Co. TN. This area is close to the TN and NC border at the edge of the Cherokee National Forest and I saw a black panther just sitting in the middle of this isolated gravel road I was on. I stopped and it made eye contact and then moved on. It was about 4-5 feet long with a 2-3 feet tail. Wish I had had my camera. Some people didn’t believe me but I know what I saw – a huge black cat sitting in the middle of the road scratching itself and it wasn’t somebody’s kitty cat. So yes we do have panthers in the mountains of east TN.

  3. Lew… On May 29, 2013 sighted a black panther crossing route 91 about 4 miles south of Damascus, TN

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