CHARLESTOWN, Ind., June 24 (UPI) -- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources said a large cat shot by a resident has been tentatively identified as a leopard, but its origins remain a mystery.
Donna Duke said the animal was shot by her friend's boyfriend just outside of Charlestown while trying to protect her friend's cats, which had been subject to numerous attacks recently from a suspected bobcat, WDRB-TV, Louisville, Ky., reported Monday.
Duke said she and the couple ran to see the slain animal.
"But it was not a bobcat," Duke said.
The friends contacted the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which sent an officer to retrieve the carcass. The body and photographs taken by Duke are being analyzed by the department.
"The cat in these photographs has been identified tentatively as a leopard," said Phil Bloom, director of communications for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. "Perhaps an immature cat about 9 months old. DNR is attempting to determine who it belonged to, or where it came from."
"In any case, it would be someone's pet, since leopards are not native to Indiana, or for that matter, to North America," Bloom said.