Early last week a few community members saw what they are suggesting could be a black panther in the area. They are not claiming they saw the Black Panther superhero out of the Marvel Comics film and they are not talking about a member of the political organization founded in Oakland, California in 1966. What they do believe they saw is the wild black cat.
One resident said he saw the animal on Highway 46 and 110th Avenue, north of Amery. Another claimed to see a similar animal near County Road F and 60th Avenue, east of Amery, neither was able to snap a photo, but they are keeping their eyes peeled for the dark animal.
According to Kevin Morgan, a Wildlife Biologist with the Wisconsin DNR,
A black panther is really a black leopard, which is a color phase of the normally spotted cat found in Africa. “If there is one around it would have to be an escape from some type of captive situation. To my knowledge, these could not legally be possessed in Polk County.
We do have bobcats in the county and the state. And, there is an occasional cougar sighting but these are quite rare. I have not gotten any of the reports of black panthers in the area so I cannot offer any information on what this might be. If someone could get a picture that would be excellent.”
Peter Wetzel, a Conservation Warden with the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement said, “Last fall I received a complaint of a black panther killing sheep north of Amery, and it ended up being a juvenile bear, which was then euthanized. There was a mountain lion caught on a trail camera north of Amery last year at about that same time, but it did not disturb anyone.”
If you have questions about animal sightings please contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at https://dnr.wi.gov or 1-888-936-7463.