Mafia boss’s PANTHER is on loose in Italian countryside after ‘mobster was inspired by Gomorrah TV show to buy the pet’
- Police have confirmed a panther is on the loose on the outskirts of Bari, Puglia
- Authorities warn people in the area to avoid country lanes and remain vigilant
- There are reports that the animal escaped from the villa of a local mafia boss
Authorities are on the hunt for a black panther after locals reported seeing the big cat on the loose on the outskirts of a city in southern Italy.
The animal, which has been sighted in recent weeks in the countryside outside Bari, may have escaped from the villa of a mafia boss, according to local media reports.
Locals have even suggested the owner could have been influenced by the Italian crime series Gomorrah, which features a Naples gangster who keeps a panther as a pet.
Images and video purportedly showing the escaped panther were taken by local residents and have been shared on social media.
Authorities are on the hunt for a black panther after locals reported seeing the big cat on the loose on the outskirts of a city in Puglia
Images and video purportedly showing the escaped panther were taken by local residents and have been shared on social media
Authorities are warning people in the area to avoid country lanes as well as keep their pets at home and remain vigilant.
Local mayors have advised farmers to stay out of the fields while the animal remains on the loose.
Sightings on the outskirts of Bari, a port city on the Adriatic Sea, prompted police officers to search the area with the use of helicopters. Experts were also deployed to identify the animal.
After examining tracks left by the cat, police confirmed that the big cat is a panther.
The mayor of Acquaviva delle Fonti, Davide Carlucci, said he had been told the panther may have belonged to a local mob boss who kept the animal as a pet, according to a report in The Times.
Carlucci on Saturday banned outdoor activities in the area where the panther had been spotted.
Local resident Roberto Surico, who has studied to be a vet, said he had seen the cat outside Acquaviva delle Fonti and noticed that it seemed ‘scared and confused’ and looked as though it had been ‘raised in a house’.
Authorities have put down traps in an attempt to catch the animal. Italian forestry police have been patrolling the local area with the use of drones.
Authorities are on the hunt for a black panther after locals reported seeing the big cat on the loose on the outskirts of a city in southern Italy
According to Carlucci, measures have been put in place to ensure the animal is captured without harming it.
‘Clearly the operation is delicate and dangerous,’ the mayor said.
‘We’ll do anything we can to capture the animal and put it to sleep without harming it.’
Authorities in the nearby town of Castellana Grotte have also been on alert since February 4 after reports of a large black cat ‘roaming the countryside’.
The mayor of Castellana Grotte, Francesco De Ruvo, ordered joggers and dog walkers to stay at home to avoid frightening the panther or making it aggressive.
‘No need to panic but be prudent,’ he said.
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