‘We want to believe’: Rare wild cat reports continue, but experts say you’ll probably never see one

1 year 5 months 2 weeks ago Friday, June 17 2022 Jun 17, 2022 June 17, 2022 3:37 PM June 17, 2022 in News - Local

In Bayview, a man spotted what he says is a species that hasn't been seen in decades.

John Delgado, a lawn care business owner, says he was alone on Thursday when he spotted the critter.

"I just looked off in the distance and right away, I've never really seen anything like it," Delgado said.

Delgado beleives he spotted a jaguarundi.

READ ALSO:McAllen police report sighting of ‘large, catlike animal’  

"It had a really sleek coat, like it was one color from the nose to the tail," Delgado said. "Completely dark gray with just like speckled white or grey, but just one straight coat. Its face was really pudged up. It was very small, weasel-like, and its nose was really scrunched up, almost like a pug, a small dog."

The jaguarundi is a species with no confirmed sightings in the Valley since one was hit by a car in 1986, says Dr. Jay Lombardi, a researcher in Kingsville who's spent his whole professional career studying local wild cats.

"In my expertise, that is a housecat," Dr. Lombardi said. "It does not have a characteristics of a jaguarundi in terms of the body to head to tail ratio."

Dr. Lombardi says its unlikely the jagaurundi is back in the Valley.

Although seen in parts of Mexico, in Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, he says it's too much ground to cover for them to return without human help.

Often, cat sightings are hard to interpret.

McAllen police put out an image two weeks ago, warning the public to watch out for a "large cat-like' animal.

They say there haven't been any more reports from the public.

Dr. Lombardi says in urban areas, it's likely no more than a house cat or a bobcat.

"We want to believe that something's there that's not there," Dr. Lombardi said. "So, in our mind we try to think, 'Ok well, that has similar things."

One thing nobody can take away is what you see for yourself.

"God put me in that place that time to see such a beautiful creature, and that's what im thankful for," Delgado said. 

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