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Rare Black Bobcat Captured In Florida! August 25, 2007 1:48 PM

Friday, August 24, 2007

For years there have been stories of Black Florida Panthers prowling in our wilderness, but there's never been any official record they exist.

Now that mystery may be over.

A cat has been captured and researchers at the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary say they now know what people were referring to when they said they saw the panther.

We're all familiar with the Florida Panther, golden in color and about 130 pounds.

You may have also heard of a "Black Panther," which has been like our local Loch Ness Monster; people have said they've seen it, but it's never been caught.

One woman recently called the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary because she said she had one right in her back yard.

"She said she had this gigantic Black Panther in her back yard and that it had killed a pet turkey that she'd had. She was hysterical," says David Hitzig with the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

"She describes to me this big black cat the size of a Labrador dog," says Deron Hartman, also with the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

Hartman responded to the woman's call for help and the turkey snatcher turned out to be no Black Panther instead, a Black Bobcat.

"It's a very unique animal. It's very rare. It's definitely the highlight of my trapping," says Hartman.

It weighs only about 20 pounds and it's color is black from head to tail with one white spot on the belly.

Hartman says less than a dozen have been recorded. Most of them in South Florida near the Loxahatchee River and St. Lucie Canal. The first was discovered about 70 years ago.

But it's more than just a rare find, it can also help bring answers to an old Florida tale.

"For years, people here in Florida have talked about Black Florida Panthers. First of all, Florida Panthers are basically a Cougar. There has never ever been a Black Cougar or a Florida Panther ever found. No record of them, no pictures, no hides, no skins, nothing. but still we hear these stories of black cats that lurk in the wilds of Florida," says Hitzig. "Maybe we have kind of found that missing piece of the puzzle and we now know what everybody's been talking about when they say, 'I saw a Black Panther in the wild.' But really they saw a Black Bobcat."

The sanctuary says they'll be working with the state to run DNA and blood tests. They want to make sure there's official documentation that the Black Bobcat exists... even if the Black Panther does not. The sanctuary plans to return the Black Bobcat to the wild.

Black Bobcat Florida

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 August 25, 2007 4:37 PM

My lord Ceci!!!! I just went to the link you provided and...she/he is wow!!! beautiful.  I have never seen one that is black. This is rare indeed!! I wonder if she/he has a mate or family or offspring.  Gesh my mind is spinning. This is really great news.  Please keep us posted on this, please!

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 August 25, 2007 4:40 PM

I can't see anything.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Just in case you can't use the link... August 25, 2007 4:52 PM

Here's the gorgeous kitty!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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 August 25, 2007 4:56 PM

Amazing!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 August 25, 2007 5:02 PM

OMG!!!! How beautiful is that baby!!! Wow how cool it would be to see one of these beauties in the wild. .Truely amazing and wonderful

What was that woman drinking before she called FWC??? Panther?? No where near the right size  silly woman... LOL too funny. I guess maybe to her it looked larger than life at the time. Too Cool, thank you ceci for sharing this pretty kitty with us.

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 August 25, 2007 6:39 PM

I have regular bobcats in my yard all the time (the kittens are the cutest!)... I'd sure love to see one of them roam through.  My neighbors have said they've seen a "black panther"... who knows, perhaps we actually have one.  I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for it now!  Thanks for the link!  By the way....they are also called melanistic bobcats... and they still have their spots, only, because they also have the darker skin pigment, you can only see the spots when the light hits them the right way.melanistic bobcat  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
black bobcat August 25, 2007 7:02 PM

how gorgeous is that!!!  at least the one found was ALIVE and will be returned to it's rightful home 

lisa, dunedin

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"One of the highlights of my trapping" ..???? August 25, 2007 7:20 PM

I have been lucky enough to have seen 3 (California) mountain lions in the wild, and for some reason I have seen lots of Bobcats. Bobcats are very veriable in size and coloration, and some are quite dark. I've never seen a black one, and would question that definition, unless I saw a photo. But I don't see how a bobcat could ever be confused with a lion. Mountain Lions are big enough to kill you and eat you. Bobcats are not. And Bobcat trapping should be illegal, like mountain lion hunting......  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 August 25, 2007 7:26 PM

Well maybe the guy was talking about live trapping....

But documenting a black bobcat doesn't mean that there are'nt black panthers...

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 August 26, 2007 8:27 AM

what a Beautiful kitty,Thank you for posting the picture Ceci.

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 August 26, 2007 8:45 AM

WHAT A PRETTY KITTY! "Trapping", I an assuming, meant simply capturing it temporily, since they "plan to return it to the wild"  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Pretty! August 26, 2007 9:29 AM

I'm still trying to figure out how she could mistake that fluffy head and 100-pounds-lighter body for a panther, but whatever.

Ceci I sent you a green star for this share.

We have a "normal" bobcat kickin' around our property in Texas. I haven't seen him yet, but my relatives say he just sits at the top of our private road watching what little traffic goes by...we also had a rogue emu from somebodies emu farm running around a couple of weeks ago...I love Texas.

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 August 26, 2007 9:39 AM

I've never seen a black bobcat that I have, I am so glad I is gorgeous!  What a beautiful unique cat!  Thanks Ceci for sharing this with us!   [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 August 26, 2007 1:26 PM

Well, of course I didn't bring my camera with me... but the most wonderful thing just happened!  A mother bobcat and her 2 babies came through the yard today!!  They all looked healthy and happy... I'm hoping that they are all living in my vacant lots (that I bought and kept wild just for the local wildlife that is being pushed out everywhere in FL)  I didn't know where else to put this, but I wanted to share it with someone!  Yippeee!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 August 26, 2007 2:39 PM

Wow!  How exciting ... and wonderful!  Those eyes are incredible with that look.  thanks so much for showing the picture.  I didn't get a link except to the Black Bob Cat with the "Photos" tab, but that didn't work. Keep us updated on the release -- if that's possible, please.

We have mountain lions in my area  here in Northern Ca  and lots of prey -  black tailed deer.


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This is from the Florida Panther Society: August 26, 2007 3:23 PM

Big Cats Online. )

But there are still those who are certain they've seen them:

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Thank you Archie... August 27, 2007 12:04 AM

Thanks for looking into this Archie, don't worry, this isn't about prooving the 'Black Panther" theory. It's simply about this beautiful lil' bobcat, we big cat lovers know about our Panther's beautiful cousin, the Jaguar (black). And here in Florida when you're driving around at night, especially with how some people drive, seeing a big cat can be reported as any kind of "big cat". They make the same mistake with tan bobcats, mistaking them for Panthers! Well, if people would slow down, they might just have a greater appreciation for the beautiful wildlife we must protect. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket  [ send green star]
 August 27, 2007 12:32 AM

That black bobcat is gorgeous!

You know, this reminds me of a cat I saw as a teenager back in the late 70's. My aunt and uncle had a large 2 story cabin right on the Itchatucknee River and I spent a lot of time there in the summer because we could walk to the river right from the cabin to swim. One night in July, it was in 1978 I believe, we all heard a blood-curdling scream from the woods around the cabin. My 2 cousins and aunt and uncle were there, it was dark, around 9:30 or 10:00. My uncle went and got the man that lived next door, because we were isolated and this sounded like a person screaming. I was terrified, this was not long after Ted Bundy had abducted and killed a little girl from the area at a park that was not too far from us. Anyway, they had spotlights and walked out to the edge of the woods, there was a clearing nearby. I, of course, the curious one, followed them. When they shone the light in the area we heard the scream, this black cat leapt out, snarling. It was no ordinary sized cat, I can tell you that! We contacted FWS and they came out but never found it. In weeks afterwards, we did hear that piercing scream coming from the woods, but never saw the cat again. Thats what we referred to this cat as, a "black panther". It was a beautiful creature, I wonder if this could be what we saw? This would be in N. Central Florida, closest town would be Branford.


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