HAMMONTON, N.J., Oct. 18 (UPI) — A supposed mountain lion seen running through a New Jersey winery was ultimately identified as a mere house cat.
Plagido’s Winery in Hammonton initially shared footage of a seemingly large cat sprinting through their vineyard in late September.
A photo of the same animal taken by a trail cam was later reviewed by New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, which determined the images showed a large house cat.
“Larry Herrighty, our assistant director for operations in the division of fish and wildlife, reviewed the video and the trail-cam photo, and concluded the animal in both is, in fact, a house cat,” spokesman Larry Hajna told CBS Philadelphia . “We’d much rather that it be a house cat than a mountain lion, to be honest with you.”
Winslow Police Lt. Christopher Dubler told The Philadelphia Inquirer a mountain lion was within the realm of possibility, but the animals had not existed in the area naturally for more than a century.
No reports of contact with people and large cats were made since the sightings and Hajna said the animals generally avoid people.
“You may run into a coyote, or even a bear. The general rule of thumb is just to leave wildlife alone,” he said.