Thursday, 23 August 2007

Attacks Could Be Big Cat

08 August 2007, Hawkesbury Gazette

A pile of dead lambs, including one without a head, lie in the back of Mr Hayden’s ute last week.

The back of one of the badly clawed ewes, which was later destroyed.
When fencer John Hayden heard what sounded like a woman screaming at daybreak a week ago, his blood ran cold.
What he found was enough to turn the stomach of any hardened bushie: his flock of breeding sheep had been cut down by something with razor-sharp claws. Altogether that night he lost 16 lambs and seven ewes, the bodies of the animals scattered around his Yarramundi smallholding.
"I thought it was a woman screeching down in the gully," Mr Hayden said of the noise.
"Then when I realised it couldn't be, I thought 'cat'.
"I've never heard a cat but we thought straight away that must be him."
One ewe had its hamstring ripped out, leaving it crippled. Several of the sheep in Mr Hayden's 43-strong flock were so badly mauled they had to be shot.
More was to come: last Saturday night he lost another ewe. This time just the head, skin and hindquarters were left behind.
"We've had the sheep for 12 months and never had trouble before, just since the lambing," he told The Gazette.
The predation has continued at the property from a variety of sources: "Yesterday morning an eagle got two more lambs, and I think a ewe has been taken by a couple of cattle dogs I saw on the property, but as for the rest, it doesn't add up to dog attack because they weren't ripped at all, except for one lamb that had its head completely missing.
"We still haven't heard from the Rural Lands Protection Board..."
Hazelbrook big cat researcher Mike Williams, who visited the property last week, said the injuries sustained by several of the animals – which included deep claw marks – were not consistent with a dog attack. "A sheep was attacked by an animal, which by using its front claws, ripped through about 120mm of wool and removed it to the skin on one side, leaving claw marks," he said.
"I do not believe dogs attack like this, neither do the two dog trappers and the agronomist that I contacted in relation to this case."

CFZ Oz Team

Hunting the elusive tiger...

THE LAST documented thylacine - Tasmanian tiger - died at Hobart Zoo in September 1936, and the species was declared "presumed extinct" in 1986. But is it? Travel anywhere on Tasmania's west coast and you will meet locals who tell tales of some of the 4000 claimed sightings of the mystifying marsupials over the past 70 years. Read the full Sydney Morning Herald travel story here.

CFZ Oz Team

McLeod's Daughters Go Cat Hunting

The scriptwriters for Blue Heelers did it, and now one of Australia's most popular soapie exports, McLeod's Daughters, has jumped on the cryptozoology bandwagon.
Last night Channel Nine aired Episode 194 — 'On The Prowl': Something is out there, killing the stock… but it’s not the only beast on the prowl as Kate unleashes the bad girl within…
Yeah yeah, well, we don't really give a rat's about Kate's 'bad girl within'. This show lost all credibility when the actual daughters of McLeod, Claire and Tess, did a bunk (well, OK, one died pretty horribly - but not at the paws of a big cat) and left the picturesque homestead.
What's interesting is that the scriptwriters have obviously been paying attention to what's been going on in the 'real world' in regards to mystery animal sightings.
Character Kate finds her horse Turbo injured and sees a dark shape run across the rear drive that looks like a big cat. Then the actors come across the carcass of a sheep in a tree!
The hunting parties are dispatched...but it seems the panther mystery is solved when Stevie and Grace shoot dead two wild dogs. However, a cow has been killed, and dragged for metres…something that dogs cannot do...

CFZ credit: Ruby Lang


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