Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 17

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3/6/2014 6:00:00 PM
Black Panther Reportedly Spotted in Jefferson

By Paula Roberts

Ryan McGlauflin, 20, of Edgecomb, and his girlfriend Catherine Delano watched a black panther play with a mouse in a Jefferson field for a minute and a half just before sunset on Saturday.

While tawny brown cougars have been spotted all over the county, this is the first sighting of a black panther in Lincoln County (that the LCN has learned of).

Ryan McGlauflin's hand next to a paw print of a black panther he saw in a field in Jefferson.
Ryan McGlauflin's hand next to a paw print of a black panther he saw in a field in Jefferson.
 
The couple were at Delano's grandparent's home near Deer Meadow Pond off Bunker Hill Road on Saturday, when Delano spotted a large black animal about 100 yards away. They got out a pair of binoculars and watched the large cat play with a mouse in the snow.

"It must have weighed 100 to 120 pounds. It was playing with a mouse just like a house cat would. The big thing was its tail; it must have been three and a half feet long. He was sitting on his back legs and his tail was straight up and down. The tip of his tail must have been four feet off the ground when it was standing," McGlauflin said.

The couple watched the large cat for 15 to 20 seconds, then moved into the kitchen for a better look. "Catherine took the binoculars and got up on the kitchen table. It looked right at her when big green eyes. It must have some crazy hearing," McGlauflin said.

McGlauflin said the cat was digging in the snow, as if it was looking for another mouse. He went to the kitchen door and whistled and the cat bounded off. "It looked kind of like a bunny, with both hind legs jumping together," he said.

The large cat then sat on the wood line for a couple of minutes before it disappeared.

McGlauflin went out the next morning and looked at the paw prints. He said the distance between leaps was about four feet.

"I never saw anything like it. The tail was a dead giveaway. The tail was as long as the body. It was as big as a black lab, and its tail was as long as a dog normally is. I was just blown away," McGlauflin said.

Inland Fisheries & Wildlife biologist Keel Kemper said the prints in the photos are inconclusive. Kemper said he could do nothing with the photos. He thought the paw print looked small in relation to McGlauslin's hand. "It was observed throwing mice up in the air. Cougars don't mouse; they eat big game like deer. The sighting doesn't add up. Big cats have very little time to waste on mice," Kemper said.

Kemper also said the "paw print looked like it is double-registered (back paw steps in front paw's track) which is fairly common. Everything makes a big track in the snow. Tracks grow in the snow. If I could ID it I would, but there is nothing definitive about that track."

Kemper said IF&W has no other reports of a black panther.

"Light and shade can change color. I spend more time on behavior. Colors can fool you. Black is pretty black against a white background. This is a very mysterious one that I am not willing to make a decision on, not having talked to him [McGlauflin] yet," Kemper said Wednesday morning.




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