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Georgia Panther Update

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 2nd, 2008

Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist Charlie Killmaster stands by a panther taken by a hunter in Troup County, Georgia. Photo Augusta Chronicle.

Cryptomundo has earlier details about this event here.

Cryptomundo reader Kittenz adds:

It seems the authorities aren’t so certain the cat was an escaped pet. Some clues indicate that it may have been, but they are advising anyone who may see another puma not to shoot it if they don’t have to, but to document it instead.

Pumas are endemic to (though presumed extirpated from) the Okefenokee Swamp in in southern Georgia. At one time it was thought that the Okefenokee Swamp was one of the last strongholds of the Florida panther.

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.


10 Responses to “Georgia Panther Update”

  1. napalmnacey responds:

    That’s so sad! Stupid hunters. It was a cute thing, too. :(

  2. StinkFoot responds:

    poor kitty :(

  3. vamelungeon responds:

    The original article said the cougar came very close to the hunter and he shot it in self defense. I fail to see how that is “stupid”.

    A lot of wildlife officials in the eastern US refuse to believe there are any cougars PERIOD east of the Mississippi, and yet they continue to turn up. Making a report to them is generally useless unless you have an actual body. If you don’t they will try to debunk your sighting. Sad, but true.

  4. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    It’s sad but I have to agree with vamelungeon. This can’t be played off as a big house cat there’s a body now and they can’t try to say it wasn’t a mountain lion. They may not believe there are wild populations but perhpas they will take reports a bit more seriously.

  5. shumway10973 responds:

    For everyone living in the cities of America: notice the size of the Puma lying there compared to the man standing there. That “cute” cat probably could have hugged the man around his neck without straining. This means that if this was a true wild puma, the hunter might have died. We may not be their favorite food (usually deer fills that place), but we are not seen as their predator, but instead as competition. They can easily kill us. In most of these places where white man walked in and killed most of the predators, those who survived now just might be on the top of the food chain. If there isn’t anything left to keep the cougar/pumas in check, they will breed every year (usually 2 sometimes up to 4 kittens). This means that it won’t take long (or didn’t take long) for them to become the dominate predator. I had someone ask why we don’t just spay or neuter these cats…Oh, yeah. Here kitty, kitty, kitty… They have the ability to take you apart. Don’t get me wrong. I do not advocate the massive hunts like in years past, but when we step in and make a mess of everything ecologically, then we have the responsibility to try keeping everything in balance and in check. Now, with that said, if these animals are there in great number, we need to get an idea of the ratio between predator/prey in order for things to balance. As long as the hunter truly was in danger, then the hunter had every right to kill it. It is unfortunate, but that is the way of nature…Kill or be Killed.

  6. kittenz responds:

    Wild pumas rarely attack people, especially if the person is carrying a weapon. Over the few hundred years of western civilization in the Americas, there are only a handful of documented unprovoked attacks on humans by pumas. Given the many thousands of pumas and millions of people who have existed during that timeframe, the number of attacks is miniscule. Pumas sometimes follow people for miles, unseen, apparently just out of curiousity. People are not part of pumas’ natural prey guild.

    That having been said, it’s true that attacks by pumas are on the increase. Most pumas that attack people are young adult males which are dispersing from their mothers. They haven’t had a lot of experience with their main natural prey. Antlered wildlife such as deer, elk, and moose are the primary prey in most areas, although pumas will eat lots of animals including skunks and porcupines. People, especially children, sometimes become convenient prey for these inexperienced cats. And once they have stalked and attacked their intended target, they are extremely hard to deter. Pumas don’t appear to become “man-eaters” in the way that lions, tigers, and leopards sometimes do (interestingly enough, there are no records of “man-eating” jaguars, the other great pantherine cat). I do wonder about the puma that attacked the two trail bikers in California a few years ago, killing and eating a man and then deliberately ambushing a woman. I wonder if that cat, had it escaped and lived, would have begun taking people preferentially as prey (which is what “man-eaters” do). That puma was a fully mature male too, not a dispersing youngster. So there are exceptions.

    It’s wise to follow basic behavioral precautions in the woods. I don’t blame anyone for killing an animal in self-defense, or in defense of their children, pets or livestock. I love cats, and I have a great love for pumas. In fact, although this runs contrary to what some experts say, and I’ll probably get some flak for saying it, pumas can make good pets. They will bond with a person or a whole family. I say “good pets” with caveats: it’s never safe to allow a big cat to have free run of a home, and much caution has to be taken when theere are visitors. But I have met pumas that are a friendle as any domestic cat. The problem is, even a domestic cat can get P.O.ed and swat you. Result: an annoying liitle scratch. Next minute the cat is purring and rubbing against your legs. Pet puma, same scenario: little swat, serious wound. Cat gets excited by blood and prey sounds and attack escalates. Person ends up seriously injured or dead, cat is put down.

    Pumas are beautiful wild animals and I am glad they are rebounding and beginning to return to their former range. Most of the time they leave people alone and don’t want contact. But they can be dangerous, and people have to defend themselves. It’s OK to think, “poor kitty”, but if it was my life, or my child’s, or my pet’s, I would do whatever it took to defend that life, even if it meant killing a puma.

  7. GCPickle responds:

    The original article said the cougar came very close to the hunter and he shot it in self defense. I fail to see how that is “stupid”. Vamelungeon

    The original article says the hunter was perched in a treestand – how much danger could he have been in from above ground ? Granted if the cat started up the tree maybe, but could’nt he have fired a warning shot and tried to scare the animal off first ? Seems to me all too often these animals are “killed first, ask questions later.”

  8. hammerhead responds:

    Youll all re-think the “poor kitty” thing when one of your kids gets drug off screaming into the woods, remember the un-provoked jogger attacks in california a few years ago? poor kitty kills jogging soccer mom, get off the couch and out of your armchairs and spend some time where a big cat has gone on a butcher spree and you all will judge men who have faced something like this alot differentley, that or when they find your missing child hanging in a tree maybe then youll place more value on a human life than the life of a beast…cats kill, they like it, humans are not the only life on this planet that kills for sport, if you spent more time doing real time, in-field studies than in front of your tv or computer screens you would know that man is only dwelling at the top of the food chain because of technology, if you then still scream poor kitty, try going out and feeding one of these a scooby snack and see for yourself why this guy choose to shoot first and ask questions later

  9. joeecuva responds:

    Whooo the great white hunter. Did he bother with a warning shot in the air? Guarantee he would have been out of there. This guy just wanted to kill something and he did. I am from a hunting family and my husband has seen a panther while in a treestand within 30 feet of him and he didn’t kill it. This guy just made the claim so he could be known as the guy who’d killed the Mountain Lion.

    There is a huge difference between the big cats in the West (California) than the cat he killed. He is just the kind of guy who would kill something standing over a bait station.

  10. mrchadg1 responds:

    My wife saw a big cat that looked just like the one in the photo in Fayette County, GA in Dec of 2008. She saw it on Hwy 85 Connector just south of the Starr’s Mill area. Everyone thinks she’s completely crazy but she swears she saw it and watched it cross the road. She said that it was in view for about 45 seconds or so and is completely sure of what she saw. I believe there are more of these cats than we realize.



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