Is there some­thing out there?

More large cat sight­ings shared af­ter two men de­scribe their en­counter near Ned’s Pond

The Western Star - - CLOSE TO HOME - FRANK GALE [email protected]­ern­star.com

STEPHENVIL­LE, N.L. — With no tan­gi­ble proof, Char­lie White’s first in­cli­na­tion was not to talk about what he had just seen.

Only be­cause his friend Wayne Alexan­der was in the ve­hi­cle and had also seen a large, black, cougar-like cat cross the Hansen High­way in front of them, he de­cided to go pub­lic. White is glad he did. Since that sight­ing, which hap­pened Sept. 10 at around 6 p.m., he has learned of about 20 other al­leged sight­ings of black and tan cougar-like cats in the area.

“Most of those peo­ple felt it was taboo to talk about,” he said.

He posted a YouTube video on Face­book, fea­tur­ing him­self and Alexan­der talk­ing about their ex­pe­ri­ence at the lo­ca­tion of their sight­ing.

He soon had more peo­ple con­tact­ing him to share their sight­ings of large cats.

He said one in­stance was within 24 hours of their ex­pe­ri­ence. He said a young boy told his grand­fa­ther a large black cat was out­side their home. White was told the grand­fa­ther went to the win­dow and caught a glimpse of the an­i­mal go­ing into the woods.

White is con­cerned the cat was seen about 600 me­ters north­east of Ned’s Pond walk­ing trail.

“I’m not try­ing to frighten peo­ple walk­ing on that trail, but peo­ple should be aware there is some­thing out there,” he said.

White has heard of large cat sight­ings dat­ing back to 1969, north at Log­ger’s School Road to south in Bay St. George South.

He de­scribed the cat as hav­ing a rope-like tail about 30 inches long and a body — ex­clud­ing the head and neck — that was about the same length.

White is hop­ing some­one will get a good clear pic­ture of one of these cats to pro­vide proof.

To him, it’s a cougar, de­spite be­ing all black. He thinks, if they’ve been around since 1969, those cats might have de­vel­oped a trait or gene that turned them black to ad­just to the north­ern cli­mate.

A re­quest was made to the De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources for an in­ter­view on the topic but the de­part­ment said no one was avail­able.

In an emailed state­ment, the de­part­ment con­firmed it re­ceived four re­ports re­lated to the pos­si­ble sight­ing of a large black cat-like crea­ture from var­i­ous lo­ca­tions along the west coast since June.

Since 1960 there have been around 100 re­ports of pos­si­ble large cat-like wildlife sight­ings in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions through­out the prov­ince.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions have never con­firmed the pres­ence of a large cat. No ev­i­dence of an­i­mal tracks con­sis­tent with a large fe­line type an­i­mal and no scat sam­ples were found.

How­ever, there has been ev­i­dence in­clud­ing photograph­s and hair sam­ples col­lected dur­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions that sug­gest some of the an­i­mals in ques­tion were lynx or do­mes­tic cats.

In the mean­time, res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to re­port any un­usual wildlife sight­ings to their lo­cal Forestry and Wildlife district of­fice.

FRANK GALE/THE WESTERN STAR

Char­lie White, left, and Wayne Alexan­der, stand on a shoul­der of the Hansen High­way in the area where they claim to have seen a large black cat cross the road Sept. 10.

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