Suspected panther attack puts rural Rayong residents on edge

Friday, 11 October 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 41 By  Patcharapol Panrak

A suspected panther attack has residents of a rural Rayong community nervous watching their livestock after a wild animal killed two pigs in Wangjan District.

Sukum Narknuan, 50, claimed he saw a black panther attacking a pig in his Prasae Reservoir-area pen Oct. 3.  He said he saw the cat with its teeth in the young pig’s neck, but that it fled when he shined a light on it. The swine suffered fatal wounds and was slaughtered and sold. A second hog also sustained deep scratch wounds.

The pig farmer said he reported the attack to the Seeraman Forest Protection Unit at the Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary, urging them to take steps to protect villagers who work at night in nearby rubber forests. He also patched up his fence to keep the pigs safer.

Residents point to tracks left by a big cat they suspect to be a Asian Black Panther, also known as a Melanistic Leopard.Residents point to tracks left by a big cat they suspect to be a Asian Black Panther, also known as a Melanistic Leopard.

Rubber tapper Bunterng Sukpat, 48, said he thought a large wild dog was behind recent attacks on local chickens. Hearing it may have been a panther made him and other rubber workers nervous, he said.

Chatree Charoensuk, principal at Ban Nong Muang School, said there have been stories about two panthers, a mother and cub, in the area eating dogs, chickens and monkeys at a temple in Nong Muang. After finding signs of a big cat near the school, officials have taken steps to protect children.

Phitak Yingyong, chief of the Seeraman Forest Protection Unit, confirmed the monkey kill and panther tracks near the school. Two sets of tracks were found. Officers, he said, are now preparing to try and capture the big cats.

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