Could Granada's 'black panther' be something else?

SPECULATION: Panther hunt continues in Granada despite pix suggesting it might be a cat. CREDIT: Ayuntamiento Ventas de Huelma y Acula Facebook

FOR the past week, tensions have been high in a Granada town after a number of alleged sightings of a black panther roaming around the streets and woods.
AUTHORITIES in Ventas de Huelma asked residents to avoid going into the fields or wooded areas and stressed a search operation was being carried out by environmental officers and the Guardia Civil’s Seprona unit to try to locate the animal.
Villagers claimed to have seen the panther strolling along a road near the municipal castle and the town hall.
And concerns were raised further when a cyclist shared a photograph which appeared to show a black panther roaming wild.
While villagers were taking “extreme precautions”, the Guardia Civil called for the collaboration of hunters in the area to help locate the panther, and yesterday (Thursday, September 17), they were preparing live bait to try to capture the panther, rumoured to be lamb or a rabbit.
However, Alfonso Azaustre, a photographer who specialises in documentary photography of travel and nature, travelled to the village to try to capture better images of the animal, since the only one that had so far been taken was that of the cyclist on his mobile phone.

And when Azaustre managed to take a snapshot of the feline, it was not in fact a black panther, “but a large cat”.
This is demonstrated by a sequence of photos taken that has surprised the Seprona agents, hunters and residents of the town.
The Guardia Civil told Ideal newspaper that “what the Seprona agents have seen is not a panther, but nothing can be ruled out until it is captured, we can only say that the search for ‘A’ wild animal”.
“The truth is that from afar it looks bigger, the tail is long … then when you get closer there is no doubt that it is not a panther, but from afar …”, said Azaustre.
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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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