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Panther In Western North Carolina

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Panther In Western North Carolina

Postby Aodhfionn » Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:05 am

Dear Jonathan,

I have horses on my family's land in Western North Carolina. Two people have said they saw a black panther in the pasture near my horses, the most recent was yesterday. First, are my horses in danger of attack? Second, I go late at night alone sometimes to feed them. Should I be concerned about my safety? And third, is there a way or someone to call that could set some sort of trap so that the animal can be removed safely and transferred to another location as I really would like to have it removed?

Thank you,

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Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:42 am

Panther In Western North Carolina

Postby Saeweard » Wed May 03, 2017 10:22 am

Dear Diane

Thank you for your question. I also wish to thank the authors of the websites I used.

First of all, I have had lots of questions from people who claim to have seen black panthers in North America. There are lots of reports, but, so far, there is no proof of a black panther living in North America, although there are cases of black pumas in South America. The other problem is that the term 'black panther' is usually applied to black leopards, which are not native to North America. It can also be applied to black pumas and black jaguars, neither of which have been proven to live in North Carolina in the 21st century. One problem is that humans have eyes that are adapted to see in colour during the day. We do not have very good night vision, so several animals may appear black at night.http://wildwnc.org/af/cougar.html panthers were common in western North Carolina, but are now absent from this area and most of eastern North America, except Florida. It is officially listed as an endangered species in North Carolina, so presumably this refers to eastern North Carolina. http://nc-es.fws.gov/mammal/cougar.html says that most sightings of big cats in North Carolina are unconfirmed as panthers and the eastern subspecies may have become extinct in North Carolina around 1900, although suggests it may still survive in isolated wilderness areas in the mountains, and particularly in large eastern swamps. Don Linzey and Christy Brecht(http://www.discoverlife.org/nh/tx/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Felidae/Puma/concolor/) discuss various authors and their opinions about the presence or absence of panthers in North Carolina, although the site says that many of the panthers show signs of having been kept in captivity, as they have tattoos or have had their fangs and/or claws removed. These panthers may have escaped from captivity and travelled to North Carolina. The site notes that it is legal to keep panthers in Tennessee, but not in North Carolina. http://www.wildwnc.org/education/naturalists-notes/carolina-panthers lists sightings in North Carolina. It may be worthwhile for you to contact the Western North Carolina Nature Centre, 75 Gashes Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28805. Phone(828) 298-5600 - Fax(828) 298-2644 for further information.

There are several reports of pumas in North Carolina, but I couldn't see any reports of them attacking horses, although http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_mountain_lions_attack_horses says that pumas watch from trees and then drop onto horses that pass near. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8162091.stm has a report that says a puma may have attached a horse in Scotland(there have been several reports of pumas in the UK). Local farmers were advised to take care of their animals. While it is extremely unlikely that a puma will attack your horses, it may be best to keep them undercover at night, rather than putting them at risk of attack by pumas or other predators. There have been several cases of pumas attacking people, although they will usually avoid people. If you keep your horses indoors, it will not only reduce the risk of them being attacked, it will also reduce the chances of you being attacked at night.  http://www.scs.abelgratis.co.uk/bigcats2/html/body_attacks___safety.html says that you should avoid Avoid hiking alone, especially between dusk and dawn, when pumas hunting. You should make plenty of noise to reduce the chances of surprising a Puma. Keep children within arms reach in areas that could conceal a puma. You can use a stout stick to ward off a Puma. Pumas are solitary and strongly territorial. Do not touch or approach puma cubs, as the mother will be close by. Pumas normally avoid people, but must not be approached. If you meet a puma in an enclosed space, move aside and let it escape. Stay calm and maintain eye contact with the cat.  Don't run away as this may trigger an attack response.  Make yourself look bigger by raising your arms. Lift small chidren to avoid them panicking and to make you look larger. Do not bend over or crouch, or the puma may attack. If the puma reacts aggressively(snarling, swiping with its paws etc), throw something at it and it may drive the puma away. If the puma attacks, fight back. The puma usually aims to bite the neck or head, so stay standing and facing the animal.  People have driven off attacks with rocks, sticks and their bare hands.        

I hope you will never need the advice above.

It is unlikely that you will be attacked by a puma, but please look after the horses and yourself.  

All teh best

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Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:14 pm

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