Italian authorities are scouting an area in Puglia where locals have reported seeing a black panther on the loose.
In the last two weeks, several witnesses have spotted and filmed a large, black feline prowling around the province of Bari, near the towns of Castellana Grotte and Acquaviva delle Fonti.
On Saturday, the mayor of Acquaviva delle Fonti, Davide Carlucci, immediately issued an emergency order urging residents to avoid local fields and the areas of the countryside where the animal was spotted.
“I signed an ordinance with which I have prohibited sporting and agricultural activities on the country roads in our territory,” Carlucci wrote in a post on Facebook. “The forest carabinieri and police are patrolling the area. In order to avoid frightening the feline, which causes aggressive behaviour, owners of domestic and breeding animals must keep them safe, to protect them from any attacks.”