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stereologist

Eastern Black Pathers

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Posted (edited)

I recently attended what is known as the birthday party. It is visited by many musicians and an interesting eclectic group of all walks of life. It has had demos of what was called a cajun microwave, theremins, and other odd things.

What caught my attention was a discussion about a population of black panthers in the forests in the area. My first thought was that black panthers are not native to this area. I thought there were some in Asia and in South America, but not here. I listened in and asked a lot of questions to find out what was being discussed. Here is a synopsis.

1. There are at least 3 black panthers in the local area.

2. Trail cams have obtained photos of at 3 different panthers.

3. When confront, the state game commission admitted to the existence of panthers.

4. The state game wardens have been quietly tracking the panthers for some time and know about many others than the 3 locals.

I was stunned to say the least. Been here for a while and this is the first time I ever heard about a cat other than feral cats and bobcats. I have seen the coyotes and bears. I have seen mink and other less commonly seen animals, but I have not heard or seen anything suggesting a cat of any size in this area.

Online sources reveal the following:

1. Mountain lions are quickly treed and none of the numerous coon dog packs have ever treed a cat in this area.

2. No one has ever collected a track or hair sample or scat from a large cat in this area.

3. Trail cams photos have turned out be bears, house cats, racoons, coyotes, bob cats, but not panthers.

4. There has not been a report of black panthers ever in this area till recent times. The black panther of the Americas is a dark version of the jaguar.

5. Reports of sightings of large cats are more common then bigfoot sightings.

6. People suggest that the government is hiding the existence of black panthers to protect them.

My guess is that unidentifiable trail cams photos are being labeled as black panthers instead of placing them in the bad photo category. Any ideas on what is the cause of these reports?

Edited by stereologist

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Oh, those black panthers.

We have had similar here in the UK, they have either escaped or been let lose from someones home. Some people just get pets which are too big to handle.

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Posted (edited)

Two things here.

1. In the US, the following animals are all the same: Cougar, Puma, (Florida) Panther and Mountain Lion. They are all some brown, reddish, golden or related color. Although they are the largest of the small cats, despite their name, they aren't true "big cats" in the Panthera classication (lions, tigers).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar

2. The alternate type of "panther" is a different type of cat - a jaguar, found in South America. Though rare, this type may have "black panthers", which is a mutation caused by a melanin snafu.

3. Even though some rare jaguars may have escaped to live in the wild in the US, and some may even be "black panthers", there has been NO speciment of native "black panther" found in the US. Any "black panthers" spotted are either actually jaguars (highly unlikely but possible, with zoos and rich people's weird pet ideas) or if you lean that direction, some sort of cryptid.

4. At least three, possibly up to six members of my own family or family friends here in Northeast Oklahoma claim to have made numerous black panther sightings - not just in their past but within the last few years near where my aunt and uncle lived (like within a mile). We also have a "Panther Creek" in the area which apparently had so many panthers far in the past that it earned that name (not sure which kind it was claimed, way back when). But then there's a persistent claim that there's a colony of monkeys that live in the trees of a nearby overgrown area of land near a lake - that's as old as most of my family members).

Edited by Paranormalcy

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We have all kinds of cats here in the midwest. People see the black panthers on the river all the time. Of course we have the brittle colored cougars and bob cats too. Cats are shy creatures that can hear and smell better than we can so they will avoid humans. They usually are more active late evening until early morning, not that you won't see one during the day. Its rare to see one even when there are many around.

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I see bear and coyotes where I live. I suspect bobcats. One sighting I had was too far away and it may very well have been a large domestic cat. I've seen bobcats in the wild. The closest I have come to a mountain lion is hearing one roar. I think it was demanding that we leave its territory. Not sure, but it gave me quite the start.

I'll see if I can get a photo from the people that have the trail cams. I'd like to see just what they are seeing.

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Two things here.

1. In the US, the following animals are all the same: Cougar, Puma, (Florida) Panther and Mountain Lion. They are all some brown, reddish, golden or related color. Although they are the largest of the small cats, despite their name, they aren't true "big cats" in the Panthera classication (lions, tigers).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar

2. The alternate type of "panther" is a different type of cat - a jaguar, found in South America. Though rare, this type may have "black panthers", which is a mutation caused by a melanin snafu.

3. Even though some rare jaguars may have escaped to live in the wild in the US, and some may even be "black panthers", there has been NO speciment of native "black panther" found in the US. Any "black panthers" spotted are either actually jaguars (highly unlikely but possible, with zoos and rich people's weird pet ideas) or if you lean that direction, some sort of cryptid.

4. At least three, possibly up to six members of my own family or family friends here in Northeast Oklahoma claim to have made numerous black panther sightings - not just in their past but within the last few years near where my aunt and uncle lived (like within a mile). We also have a "Panther Creek" in the area which apparently had so many panthers far in the past that it earned that name (not sure which kind it was claimed, way back when). But then there's a persistent claim that there's a colony of monkeys that live in the trees of a nearby overgrown area of land near a lake - that's as old as most of my family members).

Jaguars live quite naturally and comfortably in the southern US

http://www.gf.state.az.us/w_c/es/jaguar_management.shtml

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Then maybe that's where the black panthers come from, since there are no native larger cats. Interesting. Arizona gets camel spiders and jaguars and all kinds of neat stuff!

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This is from the link on jaguars in Arizona.

In the mid-1800s, the jaguar's distribution extended virtually continuously from southern Brazil and Argentina north throughout South America and Central America, then along the coasts and the western mountains of Mexico into the southwestern United States as far north as the Grand Canyon. Truly historical records in the United States extended much farther east, west, and north than Arizona-New Mexico-Texas but that was long before the West was settled.

Historically, jaguars were far from the eastern US where the modern sightings come from.

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Posted (edited)

FWIW, there was a black panther rumored to be living in the hills of Columbia County, New York, hard up against the Massachusetts state line, from sometime in the 1930s through the '60s, although I don't know exactly when the 'sightings' stopped.

It was known as "Pop Sweet's panther" and there is nothing about it on the Web. The only reason I know about it is that I was in high school there in the '50s, and it was an established part of the local folklore. Nothing was ever confirmed, but there were reported sightings of it in the local paper, The Chatham Courier, every few years.

I'm throwing this in just to get it on the record. I don't put a lot of stock in the story.

Edited by PersonFromPorlock
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The alternate type of "panther" is a different type of cat - a jaguar, found in South America. Though rare, this type may have "black panthers", which is a mutation caused by a melanin snafu.

Leopards as well can be of the black panther variety.

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Thanks PersonsFromPorlock. I grew up in Vermont and there were always stories about catamounts in the Northeast Kingdom, which was northeastern Vermont. You were possibly up against the Mt Greylock area?

I did try to contact the person that told me about the black panthers, but that is not resting on an intermediary that might see him at a sporting event. I'll continue to try to contact the person and see if I can get access to some of the trail cam photos. I am always impressed by the ability of the people on this site to correctly identify animals no matter how poor quality the photo.

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You were possibly up against the Mt Greylock area?

A little south of there. The area the reports came from was (I think) in Austerlitz, which is due west of Stockbridge, Mass.

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People have seen black panthers, I guess they're just black mountain lions, in NC several times. I myself saw a golden colored mountain lion run across the road when I was a kid. And a few years back I saw something very strange cross the road, I wasn't paying attention and just thought it was a black dog, but after it got out of sight I was like wait a second.......that thing had a very long thin tail like a cat! So who knows, but the same year I saw that I think it was 2013, there was a report on the news of the county very close to where I saw something saying they had seen a panther in the woods. I also had one of my history teachers tell our class in high school that one of his neighbors had their dog killed by a panther. So they're def out there...

And interestingly enough if you read the Cherokee stories and legends, they talk about black panthers in their stories, so we know they used to be native to the Appalachians around NC,TN,GA,VA....

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Thanks all. I have asked a few other people in the area that spend time in the woods and they reports stories of large cats. Neither he nor I have seen anything other than feral cats and bobcats, but reports of large cats in the area are easy to find.

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All cougars are black in the dark. Their presence may be quite real, however. One was killed recently in Kentucky.

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I realize I am necroposting. I learned something interesting that I thought might be a clue as to what people are seeing.

Someone told me they spotted a fisher cat in our area and have placed trail cams out in the woods to get a photo. I am wondering if people are mistaking the loping of a fisher cat for a small panther.  Adult males can be 3 to 4 feet in length. Reports of panthers have all been nocturnal, in the forests, and black in color. I'm thinking that the panthers are possibly fisher cats, an animal few people are aware of.

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1 hour ago, stereologist said:

I realize I am necroposting. I learned something interesting that I thought might be a clue as to what people are seeing.

Someone told me they spotted a fisher cat in our area and have placed trail cams out in the woods to get a photo. I am wondering if people are mistaking the loping of a fisher cat for a small panther.  Adult males can be 3 to 4 feet in length. Reports of panthers have all been nocturnal, in the forests, and black in color. I'm thinking that the panthers are possibly fisher cats, an animal few people are aware of.

Perhaps in your area, but is not endemic to the Southeast U.S. In cases of mistaken identity, the likely candidate here would be the Bobcat.

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Just now, Hammerclaw said:

Perhaps in your area, but is not endemic to the Southeast U.S. In cases of mistaken identity, the likely candidate here would be the Bobcat.

There are small pockets left with fisher cat. The bobcat's tail makes it unlikely to be the animal seen in our area.

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Just now, stereologist said:

There are small pockets left with fisher cat. The bobcat's tail makes it unlikely to be the animal seen in our area.

Only if seen in profile. Peeping out from the bush, it's head appears preternaturally large and disconcerting to the tinderfoot. In the dark, it's bobtail even less discernable.

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3 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Only if seen in profile. Peeping out from the bush, it's head appears preternaturally large and disconcerting to the tinderfoot. In the dark, it's bobtail even less discernable.

True, but people have reported the tail to me. I am wondering if the tail is what they were watching and that is what brought up the idea of a cat.

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12 minutes ago, stereologist said:

True, but people have reported the tail to me. I am wondering if the tail is what they were watching and that is what brought up the idea of a cat.

Could possibly be the American Mink which has a long tail.                                                             

Edited by Hammerclaw

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The multiplicity of sightings can almost always be attributed to observational error or misidentification as the condition is rare and not frequently occurring. From National Geographic:        

First things first: A "black panther" is not its own species—it's an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat. (Learn more about National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative.)

The condition is caused by the agouti gene, which regulates the distribution of black pigment within the hair shaft, according to the University of California, Davis. It's most well known in leopards, which live in Asia and Africa, and jaguars, inhabitants of South America. (Domestic cat lovers might be interested to know the agouti gene doesn't cause black fur in house cats.)

                                                           

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23 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

Could possibly be the American Mink which has a long tail.                                                             

I was thinking mink, but its larger cousin the fisher seems like a better choice. I see mink frequently. The ones in our area are not always a chocolate brown. A fur far was trashed by PETA years ago and the mink for the fur trade are lighter in color and have lightened up the local population.

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Just now, stereologist said:

I was thinking mink, but its larger cousin the fisher seems like a better choice. I see mink frequently. The ones in our area are not always a chocolate brown. A fur far was trashed by PETA years ago and the mink for the fur trade are lighter in color and have lightened up the local population.

I agree it's more probably something other than a big black cat. Honest-to-God real cougars, on the other hand, are not beyond the realm of possibility. Lots of animals live in woodlands and parks we are not cognizant of. There are wild horses in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, captured on trail cams.

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Sorry what they are seeing is me I'm a were panther 

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