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Apocalypse Now? Dead birds & fish, gators & black panthers.

By Dr. Greg Little

Swarms of blackbirds fall to their death in Arkansas on New Years’ Eve, then more fall from the sky in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Sweden. Just reported are hundreds more dead birds near Nashville, Tennessee. Over 100,000 dead fish, all the same species, coming ashore in Arkansas. What’s happening? And is it a coincidence that it all happened not long after a total lunar eclipse?

According to wildlife officials the flocks of dead birds and floating dead fish aren’t that unusual. Okay, maybe it’s that the media has reported things that typically don’t make the news. Who knows? But two more weird things seem to have missed the mainstream.

Alligators Moving North

Whenever there are reports that support or contradict the global warming scenario it’s sure to make the news. You can make of the following whatever you wish, but the truth is that the region where the following report comes from freezes in the winter—usually for weeks at a time.

After Hurricane Katrina (in 2005) scattered reports of alligator sightings came from the Mississippi River area of southwest Memphis. The local newspaper, The Commercial Appeal and local TV news reports, ran a small piece on the sightings. Many took the reports as proof that global warming was happening. About a year after the reports I started looking for the gators to film them and document their migration—to no avail. A consult with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (who maintain the levees and channels on the river) revealed that two gators had apparently moved north due to the hurricane, but, they assured me, they could not possibly survive the winter this far north. In late October 2010 The Commercial Appeal ran another article on gators and cited research from Tennessee Conservation Officers who had followed up on more recent reports of gators in the Memphis area. According to the report, gators are now present in the Mississippi River around Memphis, in the many tributaries of streams and rivers leading to the Mississippi, and in all of the counties surrounding Memphis. The report stated that wildlife officials believed that gators were now present in streams in all of West Tennessee. Kentucky, North Arkansas, and Missouri—you’re next. According to various sources, gators can survive freezing water for a limited period of time, but West Tennessee typically has a few months of freezing temperatures and the gator reports are only recent. If it's not global warming then the gators seem to be adapting to the cold.

Black Panthers in Tennessee

Supposedly there is no such animal as a “Black Panther.” The term is generically used to describe large black cats, but cryptozoologists have thought for years that such creatures exist. Typically when a black panther is spotted in tropical areas it is allegedly a leopard or jaguar. It’s also possible that cougar sighting could account for such reports. But black panther reports are actually common in the UK and many places in the USA. In Memphis and West Tennessee there are many bobcats and dead bobcats are sometimes seen on the streets of Memphis after an ill-fated dash across busy streets. A bobcat is quite a bit bigger than a domestic cat, but is very distinguishable. I have seen bobcats in Memphis on several occasions. But large black panthers are another thing entirely.

On December 19, 2010 The Commercial Appeal reported on several black panther sightings in the area. West Tennessee Conservation Officers doubted the reports by stating that “it would be hard for them to stay hidden for very long.”

But hidden they aren’t. Union University maintains a website that documents “cougar” sightings in West Tennessee. Of 97 reports of “cougars,” 16 were black and many were described as black panthers. Some were spotted like leopards and a few were described as jaguars. According to "authorities" black panthers, jaguars, and leopards don't exist in the region. Not surprisingly there are numerous other websites devoted to black panther sightings in surrounding states. People are seeing and reporting a lot of big black cats. Maybe they are cougars, but maybe not.

If you are interested in Cryptzoology, you might want to take a look at this book.