Sighting of mysterious animal in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve leaves officials puzzled

The sighting of a mysterious big cat in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve has left officials puzzled as to what it could be.

On Nov. 9, a YouTube account under the name of Jen Fletcher posted a 23-second video of an ominous creature lurking in the mountain range near their home. The video has since garnered over 15K views as of Wednesday, with several users taking to the comments to identify the animal.

Some suggest that it could be a jaguar, a panther, a jaguarundi or maybe just a fat house cat. Experts with the Arizona Game and Fish Department share their confusion as well, only being able to rule out what it isn’t.

“It’s not one of our native big cat species, mountain lion, bobcat, ocelot or jaguar,” Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesperson Tom Cadden told the Arizona Republic. “It’s pretty big for a house cat.”

One theory, according to Cadden, however, is that it could be an exotic cat that someone obtained and somehow escaped.

“But that’s just speculation,” Cadden noted.

As officials continued to try to identify the creature, Cadden said that their radio dispatch center had not received any additional calls regarding the sighting.

AZGFD will be looking for more reports of sightings and encounters. All big cat encounters, attacks or sightings in urban areas should be reported to AZGFD dispatch at 623-236-7201.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Mysterious animal seen in Phoenix Mountain Preserve

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