Clemson Panther Alerts

tiger paw

In an era of university shootings, campuswide notices from college law enforcement that there is a danger on the grounds of the university are taken a lot more seriously than they use to be.

On Sunday, December 16, 2007, such warnings went out across the campus of Clemson University in South Carolina, not about a rampage shooter, but regarding the sightings of a cryptid cat, a panther.

One Cryptomundo reader forwarded the following note and two campus alerts:

I work at Clemson University in upstate South Carolina. We receive news alert broadcasts from time to time, through email from campus security. Two recent emails have cautioned people about large black mystery animal sightings in the center of campus, seeming to be panther-like in appearance.

The first warning issued:

ALERT: Unusual animal sightings reported to police

Clemson University police are asking students, faculty and staff to avoid contact with wild animals that may have wandered onto campus.

Police Chief Johnson Link said a contract security officer spotted what he thought looked like a panther Thursday near the Calhoun Mansion. Police officers later spotted the animal near Earle and Fluor Daniel halls.

Link said the department contacted a wildlife expert who said it’s unlikely the animal is a panther, but that it could be a cougar, a dog or some other animal.

Link said people on campus should avoid the animal in case it has rabies or some other disease.

“For your own safety it’s best to stay away from any wild animal,” Link said. “Call police at 656-2222 if you spot an unusual animal on campus or one that’s not acting normally.”

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Issued by the Clemson University Department of News Services in cooperation with the Clemson University Police Department.

The second warning sent out:

ALERT: CUPD receive another report of panther on campus

Clemson University police received another report of a panther on campus today (Dec. 16).

CUPD responded to a call from an employee who reported seeing what was believed to be a panther between Daniel Hall and Strode Tower.

Officers searched the area but were unable to find evidence of a large cat.

An earlier sighing on Nov. 23, during Clemson’s Thanksgiving break, was reported by a contract security officer who spotted what he thought looked like a panther near the Calhoun Mansion. Police officers later spotted the animal near Earle and Fluor Daniel halls.

Police Chief Johnson Link urged students, faculty and staff to avoid contact with wild animals that may have wandered onto campus.

“For your own safety it’s best to stay away from any wild animal that could have rabies or some other disease,” Link said. ”

Call police at 656-2222 if you spot an unusual animal on campus or one that’s not acting normally.”
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Issued by the Clemson University Department of News Services in cooperation with the Clemson University Police Department.

Due to this activity on campus, the local newspaper there ran an article about what was occurring.

A Clemson University employee reported seeing a big cat described as a panther or cougar Sunday [December 16, 2007]. The Clemson University Police Department responded to a call from the employee who saw the big cat between Daniel Hall and Strode Tower. Officers were unable to find evidence of a large cat, according to a public information provider at the university.

An earlier sighting on Nov. 23 during the university’s Thanksgiving break was reported by a contract security officer who spotted what he thought looked like a panther near the Calhoun Mansion. Police officers later spotted the animal near Earle and Flour Daniel halls.

Police Chief Johnson Link urged everyone to avoid contact with wild animals that may wander onto campus.

“It’s best to stay away from any wild animal that could have rabies or some other disease,” Chief Link said.

If anyone spots an unusual animal or an animal that is not acting normal, call the police at (864) 656-2222. ~ by David Williams, December 17, 2007, “Second big cat sighting reported on Clemson campus,” The Independent.

For international readers of Cryptomundo unfamiliar with the tradition in America of universities and other schools having individualized “mascots,” especially linked to their sports teams, it is an ironic twist that the Clemson mascot is a tiger. The Clemson tiger mascot is usually shown as a brightly colored, orange and black, upright suited person. In 1896, football coach Walter Riggs brought with him from Auburn University the “Tiger” nickname.

The paw print of a tiger (shown at top) is the “symbol” for Clemson. It was developed by Henderson Advertising in 1970. The Clemson paw is unique because it was taken from the actual print of a tiger.

Clemson University has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students from across all 50 states and 89 countries. Clemson University is located in upstate South Carolina in Pickens County, just north of Interstate 85 and Anderson, South Carolina, along the shores of Lake Hartwell.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.

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  1. I don’t see any mention of black (or any other color) in the actual warnings – is there more detail available?

  2. Ooh, this is my alma mater! It’s in a very rural setting with a large, sprawling campus. There’s a large agricultural college at the school, so there’s plenty of livestock-filled pasture surrounding the main part of campus. Easy pickings for a big cat. It’s also very near the mountains and the lake. I would think the Clemson area would be a great place to live if you happen to be a feline cryptid.

    Interesting that it has been sighted slap in the middle of campus, though. If it was seen between Strode and Daniel, it was prancing right through the main drag for classes. How come all the fun stuff happens after I’ve graduated?

  3. I wonder if any pets have turned up missing in the area. That’s what happened in the neighborhood around the University of Wyoming prior to the Cougar being sighted and shot within two blocks of the University (about six years ago).

  4. Well hopefully this animal isn’t killed because of being seen on campus. Hopefully it can be tranquilized and removed safely. It would be a shame to have to kill this animal, especially if they are making a come back.

  5. My alma mater as well. Would not surprise me a bit. Also, my father was at Clemson in the late ’50’s. He used to tell me stories of a “wild man” who ran around the campus looking in windows and going through garbage cans. He said he was incredibly fast and would run off into he woods when detected.

  6. Jod, remember there was a story posted here not long ago about a federal forestry agent being stalked by a big cat in Oconee County on the Georgia border. Clemson is one county over in Pickens. The campus sits in the Blue Ridge foothills and is very rural. The university is essentially the town. Campus also sits on the largest body of water in South Carolina. Very animal friendly.

  7. Its legitimate to raise the possibility that the eastern cougar never went totally extinct in some of the large swamps and forests of the southeast. Even though they were relentlessly persecuted, I think it could be possible for a remnant to have learned how to avoid humans and everything associated with them (e.g. if it looks, smells or sounds of humans or is close to where humans are, I’m dead). I think every scientific “fact” reported about cougars the last 150 years is skewed. We’ve been reporting behavior of an animal that suffered intense persecution from humans. That has changed over the past 50 years and we are seeing the re-expansion of the animals into former habitat. Furthermore, they aren’t always afraid of humans and wild cougars have been documented wandering around in suburban areas. Cougars that have been around in small numbers but “hiding” could be reemerging.

    This doesn’t mean that there is actually a cougar stalking the campus, but the possibility is much more likely than it was some decades ago.

  8. I don’t believe that the eastern puma ever actually went extinct. Though there’s no generally accepted proof, I believe that small numbers of eastern pumas have always remained in the wilder regions of the eastern US, such as the big southern swamps and the more remote, relatively inaccessible parts of the Appalachian mountains.

    Now that the deer population has recovered, the recovery of the eastern puma is underway.

  9. Kittenz, Alligator, I tend to agree with you two. I too think there very likely could have been small, isolated numbers of the cougar surviving out there in the wilds. In fact there have been a good many species that managed to defy their supposedly “extinct” status, so it would certainly not be the first time for such a thing to happen and cougars are capable of being quite elusive. I hope you are right, and that they make a recovery.