Is this a black panther or house cat caught on camera? You'll have to decide for yourself!
According to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, panthers or evidence of panthers have not been discovered in the region in over a century. However, every now and then a local reports seeing a big black cat jump out in front of their car while driving. A black panther, possibly?
Many local hunters also claim to have seen panthers while hunting but don't report it for fear that their hunting ground will be marked off for a protected species sanctuary. This video from Pitt County shows a black figure briskly running away from the camera as this video is being shot.
Editor of the Compassnews360.com, Jeff Aydelette, covers Pamlico County and said in the last ten years there has been three separate stories about panther sightings. Stories like that of Karen McCallister and her husband, Mac, who both saw a panther over 30 years ago. Karen was on her way to the hospital and Mac saw the panther in a similar area the same day while hunting.
Over time biologists have told people that it just isn't possible for the habitat to hold a panther population, and while they might be right, it doesn't mean that someone hasn't been keeping a panther as a house pet illegally, and then the panther somehow were released or got out. Wildlife experts claim that while it may certainly be possible, that it is highly unlikely. Eastern cougars are said to be extinct and when they did exist, they were not black.
Whether they are referred to as panthers, cougars or mountain lions it is possible that they will continue to migrate to the eastern coast. There has been a documented panther from Florida make its way up as far as Atlanta, and there have been valid reports of them in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Here's some more insight on the habitat of mountain lions in America.