ALEXANDRIA, La. (WTNZ) – In recent weeks, a sense of mystery has descended upon the residents of Rapides Parish as reports of a possible black panther roaming near the levee banks of Lower 3rd Street have circulated through the community. Locals claim to have seen and heard what they believe is a majestic black panther, sparking both intrigue and speculation.

One eyewitness, Ken Lee, recounted a startling encounter, saying, “We were in a tent, and heard something that sounded like a baby crying at first. And then, the sound turned to something else. I saw a big black cat, and I knew to mind my business from over there.” Lee described the creature as being the size of an animal one might expect to find in a zoo, leaving a lasting impression on those who heard his account.

Supposed Panther Print

Photographs of large paw prints discovered beside a size 13 sandal have surfaced, deepening the intrigue surrounding the sightings. While some locals believe these prints are compelling evidence of a large cat’s presence, others are quick to point out that a cougar with a genetic mutation causing black fur could also be a plausible explanation.

One resident speculated, “It’s possible there’s a cougar making its rounds with a genetic mutation that causes its fur to be black, or a really dark brown.” Which certainly gives more weight to the sighting.

However, skepticism remains among some community members, who attribute the sightings to misidentifications in the late-night hours. Despite varying opinions, the enigma of the elusive black panther continues to capture the imagination of the Rapides Parish community.

While these sightings have sparked curiosity, safety remains a top priority for both residents and wildlife enthusiasts.

As the discussions about the mysterious creature persist, Rapides Parish finds itself at the center of an intriguing wildlife mystery, leaving residents wondering: Is there truly a black panther prowling the levees, or is it simply a trick of the night? The community remains vigilant, keeping a watchful eye on the darkened banks of Lower 3rd Street, hoping to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic creature that has captured their imaginations.