Revealing Petra

Petra, as we lovingly named it, is a 6-foot (2 m) long feline skeleton discovered by a team of cavers in 2016. The team included our members Sara Fleetwood, Philip Schuchardt, Joe Myre, Katarina Kosič Ficco, Tommy Cleckner and Mike Ficco, and Mike and Andrea Futrell our amazing friends and co-cavers. Petra was found in Burja Cave located on George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Lee County, Virginia. The cave was discovered by Mike and Katarina Ficco during one of their ridgewalks.Petra was extracted from the cave in 2021 under appropriate permist issued by U.S. Forest Service and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and with help of a lot of volunteer cavers.Petra is being curated and studied by Virginia Museum of Natural Hisotry in Martinsville, Virginia.Every one can visit and see Petra in person at the museum at any time (during open hours, of course :)) A lot about Petra remains a mistery, including its species and age, but for now it is presumed that it is a pleistocene feline. 

Follow us and learn how Petra’s mistery reveals.    

A skelton of a pleistocene feline was found in a cave in Virginia.
Several harnesses used for SRT hang from the ceiling and await their owners to return to the cave and continue the excavation of Petra. Photo: Katarina Kosič Ficco
Resting and waiting are two crucial parts of caving. Here, cavers are taking a breather while waiting for the gear to be pulled up by a shaft.