Panthers Sighted In Wood And Upshur Counties - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/30/05-Longview

Panthers Sighted In Wood And Upshur Counties

Some East Texas residents say they have seen a dark shadowy figure of a big cat prowling around their area. Many say it's a black panther. Game wardens say panthers are rare, and that what people are most likely seeing is the East Texas species of mountain lion. The latest sightings were reported in Wood and Upshur counties.

A witness in Wood County says she saw a large panther feeding on a dead animal on the side of the road of Highway 182, between Quitman and Alba. The witness said the "cat" was big with a reddish-gray color. Many we spoke with today said they believe they saw a mountain lion in their area. A full grown mountain lion, puma, panther or cougar, they all belong to the same species.They can get up to 200 pounds.

Game wardens say with an abundance of deer and wild hogs in East Texas, mountain lions have all the food supply they need. But they are not pets and should be treated with respect.

"I've seen the news shows that have attacks by cougars in California we've all seen that.  So, I'm sure there's some legitimate fears there. You wouldn't want to mess with it, leave it alone, if you can.  Find a track, then our biologists can possibly identify it , but you certainly do not want to mess with it. You leave it alone," says Wood County Game Warden Ronny Ward.

Wardens are working to track the movement of these big cats, so anyone seeing one is asked to call the Texas Parks and Wildlife department. 

Bob Hallmark, reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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