Armidale, NSW, 1984
I was recently listening to a talkback show that had brought up the discussion of panthers in Australia. I was surprised how many people rang in their sightings. but also annoyed by the skeptics sarcasm.
As a kid about 10 yr old, around 1984 at a guess, my sister and I just hopped off the school bus and mum was on the verandah about 100m away going ballistic. when we got home mum took us to the kitchen window and asked us what we saw in our neighbors back yard.
There was a large black cat as big as the neighbors Doberman it had a long tail drooping to the ground. as we watched mum rang the neighbor.
We watched as it jumped the fence and slowly and so gracefully bounded across the paddock we watched as it jumped fence after fence it appeared to be following Ben who had hoped off the bus with us.
As he started to run the cat turned and just disappeared into the scrub. that week there were many sightings. a farmer went to get his water bottle from a tree and found a panther on the limb the bottle was hung on. a lady opened the curtains one morning to find a panther looking in the window at her.
Many years later about 1996 I was privileged to have a glimpse of another panther. This time I was at Toppers mountain Tingha.
Each morning as I drove through the forest to go to town there was a wallaby and its Joey sunning themselves on the road. this morning they were not there. disappointed I looked into the clearing to see if they were there. I saw a huge black cat sitting there. as I stopped the car and reversed to have another look there was nothing there. No black object no black tree stump or anything that could have looked like a cat. I then realized I had just had my second sighting.
In 2006 a friend was on his property in Bingara he and his brother heard a screaming noise and saw a large black cat disappearing. that same week there were other sightings in the Bingara area. I have no doubt they are there but I don't believe that they need to be proven to exist so the government eradicates them. Africa has lions and we love to watch them there would be an uproar if someone decided to make them extinct due to the risk to people. aust has a panther so what. we have many national parks that no one goes deeply into. there is plenty of room for them to exist and as long as we know they are there we can behave with knowledge.
Every other country has its dangerous animals and we have plenty of our own. there are more snakebite victims than panther attacks so why seek them out just to kill them, they are a beautiful creature that deserves our respect. Tanya
CFZ credit: Paul Clacher