Rockland authorities probe panther sightings

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Authorities are investigating reports of possible panther sightings in and around Tallman State Park in southern Rockland County.

During the past few weeks, residents from Snedens Landing and Palisades have reported seeing two large black cats, possibly panthers, roaming in the woods and in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Because of the high number of calls regarding the sightings, the Department of Environmental Conservation, State Park Police and Orangetown police teamed up in an effort to locate the felines. They have combed the woods and posted warning signs at trail heads.

Wildlife experts have set up surveillance cameras throughout Tallman State Park in hopes of spotting the cats.

"That will help the park police and the DEC catch the animal," says Sgt. James Sullivan, of the Orangetown Police Department. "You need certain things to trap certain animals, so we want to make sure we know what animal we're dealing with."

Carol Baxter, president of the Palisades Community Center, says neighbors are concerned about the panther sightings, but they are hoping for a humane resolution.

"They have to determine what kind of animal it is first, and then to be able to bring it in a humane way to a sanctuary somewhere," Baxter says.

Experts warn people who come across a panther to stay away from it and report the sighting by calling the Palisades Interstate Park Commission at 845-786-2781.

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