Officials are grappling with the enigma of a mysterious large feline sighted on November 9 on the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
Jen Fletcher, a local, shared a 23-second video on YouTube of the elusive creature lurking in the mountain range near her home. The video, amassing over 15,000 views, triggered a flurry of speculations in the comments section, ranging from jaguar and panther to jaguarundi or even an oversized domestic cat.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department, equally perplexed, eliminated native big cat species like mountain lion, bobcat, ocelot or jaguar from the possibilities.
Tom Cadden, a spokesperson for the department, dismissed the creature as "pretty big for a house cat." One theory suggests it might be an escaped exotic cat, a speculation Cadden acknowledged but did not confirm.
Although the peculiar event has generated major buzz all over social media, officials have yet to receive further calls about the cryptic feline.
However, this doesn't mean that residents should let their guards down. The Arizona Game and Fish Department urges the public to report any big cat sightings or encounters in urban areas to their dispatch center at 623-236-7201.
As of Thursday, the mystery of the big cat in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve remains unsolved.