Black Panther Sited 40 miles from Phoenix
By ELAINE LITTLEFIELD
The Desert Independent
MARICOPA, Arizona – I was sitting by a campfire in the desert, when I first saw a black panther. I couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw a giant black cat crouched low to the ground slinking towards the nearby road, about 10 feet from where I was sitting. I would estimate it was about 4 feet long, not counting the long tail and was very stealth, lean and muscular. I would guess the weight to be about 40 pounds. My friends around the campfire didn’t see it and I thought I was seeing things. It was surreal, like in the movie Predator where the being was camouflaged. This black creature was blending into the black of the moonless night and I could barely detect the slow movement. The eyes seemed to glow, with the reflection of the campfire, like a quick glistening. It was in a crouched, stalking position and moving slowly. I tried to get the attention of the friend I was talking with, but he is hearing impaired and I had to get close to him and talk loudly for him to understand what I was trying to tell him. Someone was in the middle of a funny story and no one else was looking in that direction.
This was in January and though I have only seen it once since, resting on a brick wall about thirty feet from me in the afternoon sun, I have since talked to several people in the area about it. To my amazement, they have all seen it several times and described it in different ways. One lady, named Maria Teresa, who was a Catholic Nun and later earned a living as a clairvoyant said she saw a dark evil spirit go into the ground about twenty feet from where I was sleeping one night in February. She left the area for about a week because it scared her. She has since returned and we haven’t spoken of the incident since. She lost two sons in Iraq and one in Afghanistan last year, so she has a lot on her mind. She camps there (in the Sonora Desert), to try to forget this and other tragedies she has endured. Three other people live in the John Wayne RV Park nearby and took it like a grain of salt, because it never acts aggressive and they are used to things like rattlesnakes, tarantulas, packs of wild dogs, coyotes and wolves. These animals stroll through nearly every night. The area is quite rural, the only dense population being the John Wayne Ranch RV Park. They think of it as a normal occurrence, since they live near a mountain range about a hundred miles north of the Mexican border. Apparently black panthers are common in the mountains of northern Mexico.
I have since read that the males can travel up to 39 miles in a day and that when the population becomes too dense the males spread out to new territory.
I mentioned the incident to my Publisher, who thought this would be of interest to you, our readers. He also thought I should contact the Arizona Fish and Game Department, which I will.
According to Wikipedia there is usually only one panther sighting every ten years, in Southern Arizona and the Grand Canyon area and most of these are not alive when found.
The person I was facing, when I saw it and didn’t believe it was a panther got a rude awakening a couple of weeks ago. He left the door to his camper open and woke up face to face with it, about 2 AM. It seemed to be looking for food and just walked away slowly. I am glad that wasn’t my first encounter with it. I have no fear of animals, but waking up with it a few inches from my face, I probably would have been startled and probably would have screamed.
Look for eyewitness interviews in the near future.
If any tracks, photos or videos are discovered, they will be published as an update to this article. I may even spend a night or two trying to photograph the “cat” myself.
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