Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 27th, 2009
Melanistic mystery cats have been sighted throughout Europe and England in recent months and new reports surfaced over the weekend.
A black panther sighted in northeast France several weeks ago, and last seen in Belgium in September, was possibly spotted in neighbouring Luxembourg over the weekend, police reported to the media on October 27, 2009.
“Police were alerted Sunday at 3:30 pm by a lady who saw a black panther in an industrial zone in Bascharage,” a small community in southwest Luxembourg, spokesman Vic Reuter said.
“We sent out several patrols with dog handlers, and a police helicopter with a thermal camera searched for several hours but we couldn’t find anything,” he said, adding that the hunt was abandoned in the late afternoon.
He said police were taking the sighting “very seriously,” given that a similar animal had been seen in the Ardennes region not far away in Belgium.
The panther hunt began on August 24, 2009, when a large wild cat was first spotted by hikers in woods in the Meurthe-et-Moselle region of northeast France.
Tracks at the site were found to be those of a “great cat, probably a black panther,” according to French hunting and wild fauna office (ONCFS).
Around a dozen further sightings occurred in France, including one by a natural sciences teacher which was thought to be very credible, reports Agence France-Presse.
No circuses or zoos have reported such an animal missing, and officials believe the cat might have been raised by a person living in the area.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a “shocked” cyclist was confounded by a large felid, as the large black cat crossed the road from Darley Dale’s Whitworth Park area at around 5am on Sunday October 11, 2009.
Adam Gladwin, 28, of Matlock, said: “It was as plain as day, straight in front of me. It was as big as a German Shepherd dog with a long black tail. It was only 35 to 40 yards away.
“I was unsure whether to keep going. I called in to the paper shop and told them what I’d seen and they said there had been other sightings in the area.
“Some people are a bit sceptical and some people belief me. I’ve also heard that the creature has been going in the bins at DFS.
“As far as I’m concerned, it was a big cat. There is no other explanation.”
This animal print was found at Black Rocks in March 2009, by Cromford villager Brian Smith.
It is understood that there have been other sightings of large cats at Northwood Lane in Darley Dale. The latest sighting was on Friday, October 23, at 5:00 pm, when a man reported a sighting of a large puma-like cat with a long tail in a field at Idridgehay.
A Derbyshire police spokeswoman said this year they had received four reports of big cat sightings in the Peak District and Dales.
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