Authorities captured a wild black panther that had been spotted near a Malaysian residential neighborhood in Negeri Sembilan state, ending residents’ safety concerns.
The state Department of National Parks and Wildlife (Perhilitan) set a trap and managed to catch the wild cat early Sunday morning, more than a week after it was first spotted, Malaysian media reported.
A family in Kampung Ulu Beting, Kuala Pilah, was baffled by the disappearance of some of the dogs living on their farm in early September.
That confusion turned to fear when a feral cat outside his house was seen capturing a puppy that was under one of his cars and taking it to a nearby jungle around 11pm one night.
“We threw some firecrackers at the panther, but it did not escape,” Rusmazaiti Kamarulzaman, a resident of Ulu Beting, told Utusan Malaysia on September 11.
“We immediately called 999 for help… They told us to spend the night elsewhere for our safety because they feared the panther was still nearby.”
He added that they last saw a panther-like animal a month ago in August.
“We have stayed here for about two years after my husband retired from the military. We have heard about the existence of the panther from other residents who said that to date it had never bothered any of them,” said Mrs Rusmazaiti, adding that she was concerned for the safety of her two young children.
She was relieved after the animal was captured over the weekend.
“In the darkness of the early morning hours, I thought the panther was just a little one. However, when the sun came up, I realized that the black panther was quite big,” Rusmazaiti said.
“Whatever it is, I’m relieved they captured the panther.”
Negeri Sembilan Perhilitan director Nurul Ermi Ramli told Malaysia’s New Straits Times that the panther would be examined by the state Department of Veterinary Services.
Rusmazaiti, 31, said however it was possible there were more wild panthers roaming the neighborhood as other tracks were found.
It is unlikely to be the last panther sighting in Negeri Sembilan, a state where the animal has been seen more than once without always causing casualties.
Another retired military man who lives near Kampung Gachong in Inas, Kuala Pilah, reported being visited by a black panther at his home in April, adding that the animal fled instead of attacking him.
Another panther was less fortunate in May, when it tried to cross a street but was hit by a car whose driver could not avoid it in time. The driver and his passengers avoided injury, but the 40kg animal could not escape death and breathed its last moments after the collision.