Panther sighting in Norwich – Police turn to social media

When news travels on Twitter, is that good or bad?

Police appeal after ‘panther’ sighting in Norwich – Norwich Evening News.

Police in Norwich have made an unusual appeal – for people who spotted a panther-like creature roaming close to Norfolk County Council’s headquarters.

Norwich police took to social media site Twitter today to make the appeal. They said: “We had a report of a large cat, possibly a panther prowling around yesterday near Martineau Lane! Anyone see anything similar?!”

The report was said to have come from staff at Norwich Camping and Caravan Club who also reported a dead Muntjac deer close to the campsite. Hmm…

Many previous reports through 2006 have turned up nothing.

I’m not sure about this idea of turning to social media. For one, it’s good because it’s efficient and does not waste police time but gets the word out fast. On the other hand, it can spark (and likely will spark) many mistaken reports from people who are primed to see a large cat. They may mistake normal animals for exotic ones. This is documented to have happened when animals have supposedly escaped from zoos.

Black leopard

Black leopard