THE search for the elusive black panther in a sleepy Andalucian village stepped up another notch last night.
Guardia Civil, after adding a helicopter on Monday afternoon, brought in thermal cameras to continue the search overnight.
It comes after residents in Venta de Huelma in Granada were adamant on Friday that they saw the big cat prowling near the castle and town hall.
Alvaro Aguado and his wife took a picture of what they say was 100% a panther after having a look through their binoculars.
“It’s a panther, Alvaro, my wife said,” Alvaro told Ideal, “I took the binoculars and saw the same thing.” Aguado assured the local paper that the animal that is on the loose is ‘a feline with a very long tail’ and is 100% convinced it is a panther.
Seprona, the animal arm of the Guardia Civil, told media it wants to know once and for all whether the animal ‘actually exists’.
The town of around 600 residents was warned by the town hall on Saturday morning that several witnesses said they saw the beast the previous day.
In a Facebook post, the local government body said investigators visited the area of the sighting and found no trace of the animal.
However it added that authorities would continue monitoring the area and investigate for a few more days and at different times.
Yesterday, in a new post, the town hall said a member of the Civil Proteccion who is allegedly helping track the animal saw it ‘on the road, in the direction of Agron.’
Locals have been advised to steer clear of the animal if they happen to come across it and to call the 112 emergency number.
Panthers travel long distances with ease and are constantly changing locations, the town hall said, insisting residents to remain ‘alert.’