Another large wild cat spotted in Greensboro|jon_downes||08/03/06 at 14:52:02|jon_downes|xx|0||Another large wild cat spotted in Greensboro

Lex Alexander
Staff Writer
Sunday, July 30, 2006

GREENSBORO -- An escaped serval in Fisher Park. A rabid coyote in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Now, something in Lake Daniel Park.

Westerwood resident David Morris has reported seeing a wild cat twice recently in Lake Daniel Park. It could pose a threat to small children as well as to Westerwood's many domestic cats, Morris said. It also could carry rabies, which can be transmitted to humans and can be fatal if untreated.

County animal control officials have referred the complaint to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission because dealing with wild animals requires a license and special cages.

Morris said he most recently saw the animal about 4:40 a.m. July 23. En route to the airport, he had stopped where Woodlawn Avenue ends at East Lake Drive. In his headlights, in the park across the street, he could see four rabbits -- and a creature about to pounce on one.

"It was about eight or 10 feet from me and about two feet from nailing a rabbit," Morris said. "It froze. ... After about five to eight seconds, it took off -- and it was beyond fast."

The animal fled toward nearby North Buffalo Creek.

Morris said the bobcat- or lynx-like cat had long, black or dark-brown fur and pointed ears, "with a body kind of like a schnauzer but fuller." It weighed close to 20 pounds, he guessed.

The sighting continues a series of encounters, some dangerous, between animals and people in Guilford County. In October, animal control officers captured a domesticated African serval, a cat that weighed between 50 and 70 pounds, in Fisher Park.

Two weeks ago, a rabid coyote was reported to have bitten a dog in Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and to have attacked but not bitten a man in a separate incident. The Guilford County Department of Public Health has been unable to identify and locate the dog's owner -- earlier erroneously reported to have been bitten herself -- health educator Pam Spence said Friday.