I can confirm not only by myself but with about half the town of Richwood as well that black panthers do exist in WV. I saw one myself while camping on the south fork of the Cherry River. It was about 2:00 am and my dad and I had returned to our camper for the night. We had just laid down in our beds when we heard leaves crunching and sticks snapping. I looked out the window first and with the small glow of the fire that was burning out. I could see a long and slender black cat that was about 4 or 5 feet long and a massive tail.
I whispered for my dad to look and when he did he was trying to say it was a black bear, but after he saw it’s tail he agreed with me that it was a cat, and also nothing like he had ever seen. We watched it for a good 5 or 10 minutes so I know it wasn’t mistaken identity.