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Reported 'black panther' was a regular cat

UPI News Service, 12/02/2011 

A Louisiana wildlife official said a "black panther" reported near an office building outside of Covington was actually a domesticated cat.

Maria Davidson, who manages the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries large carnivore program, said the feline, which was photographed Wednesday and reported to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office as a panther, was nothing more than an ordinary house cat, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Friday.

"A case of mistaken identity is not uncommon," Davidson said. "Size [of cats)] can be somewhat difficult to determine ... at a distance or with a picture."

Experts said the only animals known as black panthers are the black jaguars found of South America and black leopards of Asia and Africa.

However, Vicky Gehbauer, the facility manager at the office building where the animal was spotted, said she is not convinced.

"I don't care what the experts say. I can't be convinced otherwise. I know what I saw ... That was not a cat. It didn't belong there," she said.

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Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any repr

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