ANSA) - Rome, February 15 - Italy has been hit by one of its periodic bouts of panther panic with a full-scale 'big game hunt' in Rome .
Recurrent reports of a panther on the loose in the capital on Wednesday spurred police to put out an all-points bulletin for the big cat .
It was Italy's sixth panther alert in just over a decade .
An early Wednesday morning sweep only smoked out a domestic cat but then the hunt began in earnest. A beast was reportedly tracked to a building site on the city's outskirts but managed to slip through the dragnet, snubbing its nose at police, veterinarians and wildlife experts .
Undeterred, the hunters began combing the underbrush around a well-known shrine but again turned up nothing .
Rome city council played down the panther fears Wednesday evening, saying the animal was probably a big black dog foraging for food .
It voiced the hope the animal would soon be caught for the good of Romans' nerves .
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Curous story from ANSA
Panther panic in Rome: