Italian Black Panthers

An Italian press outlet is reporting that the country is experiencing a wave of Black Panther sightings. In an item entitled "Panther Panic Hits Italy Again," the old explanation that it "escaped from a zoo" or "circus train wreck" cropped up again. But the Russian zoo currently performing in Turin, Italy, the location of the recent Black Panther sightings, denied it was theirs.

"We don’t have any panthers anyway. All we have are dogs, camels and horses," a zoo spokesman said.

One eyewitness was a Turin traffic cop who managed to identify the big feline as a black panther. Authorities were looking in suburban hedges and combing underbrush north-west of the Piedmont metropolis.

The recent flap reminded the media of a 1999 report near Como, as well as sightings in the harsh landscape of central Sardinia in 2001 and the rolling countryside of central Umbria in 1993 and 1995.

After the second Umbria sighting of a Black Panther, locals said they had seen a Mystery Lion roaming in the vicinity.