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Early Reports of Kanahar Cougars

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 10th, 2011

I recently posted here about “Afghan Mystery Cat: The Kanahar Cougar.”

Now comes some previous sightings of these mystery cats.

Embedded reporter Ben Brody earlier this summer wrote of sightings he was gathering on mystery cats among American troops in Afghanistan. His message is more skeptical than Michael Yon about what the soldiers are seeing.

Last summer [2010] when I spent two weeks at Combat Outpost Lakokhel in Zhari District, a few soldiers there swore they had seen a mountain lion-sized cat stalking around their guard towers at night. While I believed they thought they had seen such an animal, I privately felt they were probably seeing a big, sneaky stray dog.

Now I am embedded with soldiers at Combat Outpost Sangsar, just a couple miles from Lakokhel, and the sightings persist. Last night the patrol I was out with spotted two of the cats circling them in the dusty gloom, using their thermal imagers. I don’t have high-tech equipment like that so I couldn’t see them firsthand.

One of the soldiers managed to capture a few photos of the cats on his imager, and I in turn photographed its eyepiece. The thermal images, while a bit indistinct, appear to show two adult Caracals walking 40 meters from an American infantry squad.

The cats followed us for several hours, always keeping their distance but occasionally uttering a low growl, casting a shadow of dread over the dark fields. As we passed a farm compound a lonely hound howled at the column of soldiers, likely unaware of the great cats slinking through the shadows who could easily make a meal of him.

Despite soldiers’ hyperbolic reports that the cats are “seven feet long and around 300 pounds,” Caracals weigh about 40 pounds. Unless there is also a Siberian Tiger on the loose. Ben Brody June 29, 2011

Adult caracals walking 40 meters from an American infantry squad. (Ben Brody/GlobalPost)

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.


6 Responses to “Early Reports of Kanahar Cougars”

  1. Artem responds:

    Caracal was the thing I thought of when read previous post, but one of the solder mentioned that the cats had striped hides, and caracals have uniform coloration, plus they have distinctive hair tufts on the tips of their ears.

    Still I think the cats are caracals, as far as I know there are not any other desert cats in that part of the world.

  2. sidwills responds:

    Thermal and IR imagers are notorious for a lack of depth perception and making it difficult to judge scale, which could go some way to explaining the overestimated size.

  3. watn6789 responds:

    Someone needed to bring up Caspian tigers…

  4. kryptos006 responds:

    Those photos look credible, but unfortunately there is no measurable point on the landscape that would be conclusive in order for one to calculate a size of the animal in subject. The holy grail of ABC photos would have that sort of an object in it.

  5. Reverend responds:

    Do the Afghans have zoos? I wouldn’t be too surprised to discover that tigers and other large cats had been released as a sneaky and diabolic plan to pester/eat US troops!

  6. stevedad responds:

    My son is stationed in Panjwai and told me he had the same experience while on guard duty two weeks ago. A large cat he described as a puma climbed up on the guard tower he was on. It was only four or five feet away from when he noticed it. It looked at him for a moment and he held still . The cat then just climbed back down and left. He described it as a striped cat about the size of a dog.



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