#sightings #photos #mystery #resolved
Palermo, it is the evening of July 14, 2010, the historic center as every year is already full for the parade of the triumphal chariot of Santa Rosalia along the Cassaro.
But somewhere else in the city, in Borgo Nuovo, the Forestry men are grappling with the summer novel.
No, they are not reading.
They’ve been looking for a panther, as they’ve been doing for three weeks now.
Yes, because it is June 22 when, at the foot of the hill where the Bellolampo landfill is located, the alarm goes off: “We saw a huge black cat in the Via Bronte area”, say several residents.
“I heard a roar,” someone else swears.
The various testimonies trigger the hunt for the animal with the Forestry Corps in the front line.
And that of the night of the Festino will be a crucial date of this catchphrase.
The news in the newspapers
But let’s go back a moment, at the beginning of the hottest season of the year and at the first “appearances” of the panther.
The news is initially handled with caution by the local media, but as the days go by the sightings multiply, as well as the launches of the agencies.
And that of the panther in Palermo becomes a classic feuilleton that fills the columns of newspapers and the home pages of internet sites.
The reports continue to thrive.
First a collar with black hairs and a mauled rabbit are found in via Bronte, then a firefighter tells of seeing the gigantic black shape under his house, in the Boccadifalco countryside.
The yellow has now exploded because in the meantime the word of a passionate collector of exotic animals has spread and the prosecutor Carlo Lenzi has opened an investigation.
A pig as a bait
The Forestale struggles and devises a plan: a pig in a cage as a bait and cameras around to record the eventual arrival of the panther.
Meanwhile, to examine the hairs found during the search, the inspectors run to the farm zoo in Terrasini, owned by Pietro Quatra.
There they take some samples from other panthers kept in the facility for comparison.
But something is wrong.
“After the narcotization, one of my three panthers never woke up,” Quatra complains.
The photos on the night of the Festino
Summer advances and we are at the night of the Festino, the one from which we started.
It is around 9 pm, when forest managers and inspectors, together with a veterinarian, witness a suspicious movement in via Sant’Isidoro, not far from via Bronte.
They are sure: “It’s the panther”.
An employee of the forest company takes some photos.
The images, immortalized at dusk, are not clear and it is not quite so clear to distinguish the feline.
It seems to have reached a turning point and, instead, from that sighting the traces of the animal are completely lost.
The “reappearance” in Mondello
A month passes, the city empties further for the holidays and the case seems to have completely deflated.
After Ferragosto, however, the novel is enriched with a new chapter: the panther “appears” in via Giasone, in Mondello.
This time the place is very far from Borgo Nuovo, where the feline was previously reported.
But even in this case there are photos.
It is precisely the shots, however, that sweep away any doubts about this latest sighting.
“The stones near which the animal passed are not so large and the zoom of the mobile phone camera has offset the proportions: this here is a cat, not a panther”, say from the Cites group of the Forestry after examining the images.
The closure of the investigation
A slating that practically brings silence to the story.
The warm season ends and with it in addition to the long and hot days it also takes away the catchphrase on the feline.
It is September 22nd when the prosecutor Lenzi files the open file starting from the hypothesis of illegal detention of dangerous animals.
The panther will never be seen or found again.
The mystery of summer 2010 in Palermo will remain forever.
Sicilian news 2022-07-09 14:50:00