It seems that one of the oldest animal discussions in Georgia is the one centered on big black cats-Black Panthers. While there are panthers and other cats on the terrain of Georgia, it is debatable as to whether there are large black panthers in the state.
One of the oldest sightings of a black panther was in 1958 near Rome, Georgia. A motorist reported that a huge black panther jumped on the side of his car and left muddy pawprints on the side of the automobile. Other reports in Georgia exist, some in the metro-Atlanta area.
In Loren Coleman's book "Mysterious America" he mentions a report from 1975 where the local paper in Stockbridge, Georgia ran a story with the headline "Something Screams in the Night." According to the report, people in the vacinity reported seeing a sleek black cat having a long tail. The animal also had very large eyes, so much so that they were described as the size of silver dollars. The report also mentions that a famers penned up goat had been killed by the animal. A few days later, a few residents of Stockbridge reported seeing the same animal. These reports caused such a furor that officials from the Department of Natural Resources set traps in the area. Officials at the University of Georgia, specifically Dr. Ernest Provost, weighed in on the topic. He declared that "There may be panthers here but they are not black. This black business has never been proven. No one has ever gotten a black panther." The curator of the Atlanta Zoo at that time, Ron Jackson, mentioned that black panthers were not a biological impossibility, but that so far, noone had one.
I didn't realize it, but black panthers seem to be a topic of much debate. According to Coleman, there are zoologist and others in the world of science who have called black panthers the "feline flying saucers" because they are so elusive and mysterious. Others deny that they exist at all, as Dr. Provost illustrated. Noone seems to debate much about cougars and Mountain lions, but black panthers still mystify naturalists and mystery hunters alike.