A mysterious black cat believed to be a panther has recently been witnessed by numerous people around Hungary. Known as the “Hungarian black panther”, the animal was first spotted in the town of Kiskunhalas in mid December. Hungarian police investigated the report, and while they didn’t see the animal for themselves, they did find some footprints that they believe it left behind. A video of the alleged black panther and photos of the footprints can be viewed here.
After the sighting in Kiskunhalas, several people have reported seeing the same creature roaming around Hungary (it was witnessed in Kecskemét, Ballószög, Kengyel, close to Szolnok, and in Kerecsend). The sighting in Kiskunhalas included a report from a farmer claiming that his animals had been mauled.
Then on January 10th of this year, the animal was spotted again, but this time it was in Tiszatenyő near Szolnok. While the footage was taken at a distance away from the animal, it’s hard to determine whether or not it was an actual panther. This most recent video has been provided by the newspaper Blikk where it can be viewed.
If the creature is in fact a black panther (despite there being none missing from any zoos in Hungary), it needs to be protected and taken care of very soon as it can’t tolerate sub-zero temperatures and may have a problem hunting for food.
In an interview with 24.hu, Zoltán Hanga, who is the press officer of the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, explained that the creature could be in a lot of danger, “If the animal did not come to us from Africa, but escaped from somewhere, and even if people raised him illegally, fed him, and gave him a warm place, the animal is now in danger. These animals cannot survive the cold weather in December, and since it has probably never hunted in its life, it may have serious problems finding food.”
With that being said, it’s still unclear whether the creature is a black panther. “It could be, but we would have to check where the camera was positioned, from what distance the animal came, and scale it. If the animal is a black panther, it is definitely a runaway animal and this is not its habitat,” Endre Sós, who is the head veterinarian at the Budapest Zoo, said in an interview with the radio station Inforadio.
Sós went on to say, “And if someone encounters it, they should report it immediately so experts can take care of it,” adding, “The panther does not consider humans as prey, but pets, including dogs and cats, are. It is very important that we take special care of our animals in the affected areas and, of course, of ourselves.”