Saturday, 27 September 2008
Yes, it’s a yowie
26/09/2008 1:59:00 PM
WHILE the majority of scientists do not acknowledge their existence, a leading cryptozoologist believes a Glendonbrook property was recently visited by a yowie.
After receiving some photographs taken by Glendonbrook resident Lloyd Stapleton of some strange footprints found on his property, cryptozoologist (person who studies animals whose existence is disputed) and environmental scientist, Professor Gary Opit, said the shape and size of the footprints had the hallmarks of a yowie.
“From my viewing of the photos, the footprints were made by a large bipedal (two legged) animal, and in my opinion, more than likely a yowie,” Professor Opit said.
“It appears as if the yowie has leapt over Mr Stapleton’s gates and landed quite heavily on the balls of its right foot, not flat footed, and this left a deep impression.
“There is another print of its left foot and then it appears to have walked onto the grass.”
The photos were sent to Professor Opit after a number of zoos and museums were unable to identify the footprints.
The yowie, the Australian version of the yeti / big foot, has been dismissed by most scientists as a myth because of a lack of physical evidence.
Professor Opit believes that yowies are a descendant from the genus Australopithecus, which were closely related to humans, stand around two metres tall, and are highly intelligent, ambush predators, eating mainly kangaroos, possums and bandicoots.
He believes that yowies were once in abundant numbers in Australia, but were hunted into near extinction by Aborigines and dingoes.
However, with no hunting threats for quite some time, their numbers have begun to grow, which has resulted in increased sightings by people.
“Most people don’t believe they exist for one second but I’m fortunate that I’ve actually seen one and heard their calls,” Professor Opit said.
“And so many people have contacted me with reports, I can’t say they are all hoaxes.”
While initially disbelieving of the fact he had a yowie visiting him, Mr Stapleton said a number of strange occurrences, other than the footprints, led him to suspect that there was something out of the ordinary getting around on his property.
“A few years ago, I heard a growling near the tree line when I was doing some work on my shed at night,” he said.
“I’d never heard anything like it before, it was too big a volume in noise to be a dog.
“It frightened the daylights out of my two German Shepherds who were with me at the time.
“Also, at the top of the mountain, the dams are full and there is plenty of feed for the cows but nowadays they choose to stay down near the house.
“It’s strange that they would just leave it.”
Mr Stapleton said he took the recent photographs the morning after a particularly wet storm in April.
“The creek that night was four and a half to five metres deep and 120 to 130 metres wide, so I’m pretty sure it would have been a very big effort to go to if it was someone playing a practical joke,” he said.
Professor Opit said he would like to hear from people who have stories of unidentified animals, such as Mr Stapleton’s, and can be contacted via email at email@example.com
Thursday, 25 September 2008
Premier's panther interest welcomed
24/09/2008 10:58:00 AM
THE Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia has welcomed the news NSW Premier Nathan Rees is considering a serious investigation into big cat sightings in the Sydney basin and beyond.
Mike Williams, who has been investigating reports of ‘panthers’ around Australia since 2001, said the staggering volume of reports – many accompanied by compelling photographic and physical evidence – warranted closer attention from biologists and government authorities.
“There’s something going on in the Australian bush. We don’t know if the source of these reports is some kind of introduced exotic cat species or a feral cat mutation, but what we do know is that hundreds of people have seen these animals. It’s not just a case of mistaken identity,” Mr Williams said.
“It’s important that the close-minded sceptics don’t derail future efforts to investigate the growing volume of ‘panther’ reports.
“The Hawkesbury City Council has rallied behind concerned locals and several scientists have thrown their weight behind the notion that there could be large felids living in the bush... The interest of the Premier is a welcome addition to the ranks.”
The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) has worked closely with residents in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains region, and has contributed to a privately held database of 360-plus sightings created by Grose Vale resident Chris Coffey.
Mr Williams, who is co-writing a book on ‘panther’ sightings across Australia, is interested to hear from readers who have had a sighting or taken any interesting photographs, video or casts of the animal.
He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly on 0416 303 371. Visit his website at www.australianbigcats.com
Saturday, 20 September 2008
NSW Premier Nathan Rees believes something big and furry is roaming Sydney's west.
And he wants to find out what it is.
Despite a lack of firm evidence, Mr Rees no longer thinks stories of big cats such as a black panther stalking western Sydney are just an urban myth.
He said he has been in contact with a local woman who has compiled a database of some 600 alleged big cat sightings.
"I don't think it's necessarily an urban myth," Mr Rees told reporters in Penrith on Friday.
"There are too many people reporting sightings."
It is a turnaround for Mr Rees, who as water minister in August said the "black panther is an urban myth".
The black cat sightings have already been subject of a three-year NSW Agriculture-led investigation, which was wrapped up in January 2002.
But Mr Rees said a recent spate of new sightings could warrant a new investigation.
"Of particular concern is if there are little kids out there, and there actually is one of these things," Mr Rees said.
"It is easy for all of us to dismiss these things ... but if we're actually wrong then there is an altogether different set of scenarios."
Sighting of big cats - dubbed either the Penrith Panther or Lithgow Panther - have been part of local folklore in Sydney's west and the Blue Mountains for decades.
Rumours persist the big cats escaped from private zoos or a circus in the area years ago, and even the local NRL club is called the Penrith Panthers.
While many people believe it is some type of exotic cat, possibly a panther, cougar or leopard, myth busters say they are nothing but large feral cats with thick winter coats.
The creatures are said to roam from Penrith to the Hawkesbury region in Sydney's north-west, along the Nepean River and across the Blue Mountain to Lithgow.
Believers say the big cats have been able to survive by roaming the three large national parks - Kanangra-Boyd, Blue Mountains and Wollemi - which connect across the mountains.
"This is Nathan Rees' 'beef stroganoff moment and demonstrates how out of touch Labor has become," said Deputy Liberal leader Jillian Skinner, referring to the uproar caused after federal Labor MP John Murphy complained earlier this week about the size of meal servings at the parliament house canteen in Canberra.
"Nathan Rees needs to get his priorities right.
"Looking into the so-called black panther, but not into the budget crisis, says a lot about this bloke and it's not good for the people of NSW."
Thursday, 4 September 2008
The specimen will be on show Sunday at the Macleay Museum between noon and 4pm. There will also be a free expert talk and Q+A about endangered species.
Monday, 1 September 2008
We're busy compiling an Australian-New Zealand database of mystery animal sightings, so no matter if your experience is old or new, we're keen to hear about it. We're especially keen to see photographs, video footage and plaster casts.
CFZ Oz Team
1/11/2006 2:13:10 PM
A HAWKESBURY resident may have stumbled upon one of the most exciting zoological finds of the decade – a small marsupial previously thought to be extinct on Australia's mainland.
East Kurrajong resident and Gazette employee Nicole Palmer was driving along Roberts Creek Road when she spotted a couple of unusual-looking animals last Wednesday night about 7.30pm.
"There was two of them. One was smaller. I pulled up and the larger one kept hopping towards the car," she said.
"They were both dark brown with white spots around its jowl and neck area, 3-4 inches of the tip of its tail was white and it didn't look like a tiger quoll, it was much smaller and less heavy."
From her description, NPWS ranger Vickii Lett and University of Western Sydney biologist Professor Rob Close believe Ms Palmer may have spotted two eastern quolls.
Eastern quolls are about the size of domestic cats with pointed noses and soft fawn, brown or black-coloured fur broken up by white spots, and a bushy, white-tipped tail.
They are much smaller than their cousins, the endangered Spotted-tail or 'Tiger' quoll, which has a coarse, reddy-brown coat with white spots and is half as big again as the eastern quoll.
The eastern quoll was last seen on the mainland in the 1960s in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse.
Since that time dogs, cats, foxes and people have encroached on the small marsupial's habitat to the extent that they are now believed to be extinct on the mainland.
However, eastern quolls remain prolific in Tasmania, preferring to live in dry grassland and forest bordering farm paddocks.
Ms Lett said National Parks would be acting on the sighting of the protected species.
"In the meantime, we'd like residents to keep an eye out and if they see something unusual, take a picture of it with their camera or mobile phone," she said.
"We'd also like people in the area to be careful about letting their dogs and cats roam around."
Dr Close, who recently urged residents to keep an eye out for signs of rare wildlife, said he was thrilled about the sighting.
"If it is in fact a true sighting, it's very exciting," Dr Close said.
"There's been a few sightings over the past few years, unverified, so it raises hopes that they are still around."
29/05/2008 9:47:00 AM
Residents in the North Macksville area have been urged to keep their eyes out for a carnivorous visitor, in the shape of the endangered spotted-tailed quoll.
A resident was recently alarmed by shrieks from his chook pen and found an unwanted visitor – Australia’s largest remaining carnivorous marsupial.
The spotted-tailed quoll was captured and released into the wild by residents, who were intrigued to see the rare species in land that has been identified as the favoured site of the Macksville bypass through North Macksville and Old Coast Road.
World Wildlife Fund spokesperson Samantha Vine said the spotted-tailed quoll had become vulnerable due to land clearing (the spotted-tailed quoll ranged in a home habitat of up to 500 hectares), introduced competitors and 1080 baits.
She urged residents who saw the rare nocturnal creatures to call WWF to report them, and treat them gently.
“Unfortunately, quolls have a great love of chickens and can track the smell of them for 6km,” she said.
“In the past they have been killed by people who have found them in with their chooks, but we ask that they be released back into the wild, because they are protected.”
Once a spotted-tailed quoll had found a chook pen, Ms Vine said it was likely they would continue to visit it.
She urged people who had problems with chook attacks to contact WWF to get guidelines on how to ‘quoll-proof’ their property.
IT may be the Tasmanian devil's spotted relation, but this cute creature is one of a handful of native endangered species to call Sutherland Shire home.
Known as a spotted-tail quoll, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife hopes drawings of this carnivorous Australian marsupial in the Dymocks Golden Paw Awards 2008 will help with its conservation.
"Most threatened species are so rare that we often don't know what they look like,'' said Leonie Gale, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.
Golden Paw is an annual drawing competition for NSW and ACT primary school children to help raise money and awareness to protect native endangered wildlife.
"[The children's] drawings show everyone what our threatened animals look like, and people will recognise them when they see them,'' Ms Gale said. "They can help find our threatened species so we can protect them and their homes.''
Other endangered species found in the shire include grey-headed flying-foxes, red-crowned toadlets, Rosenberg's goannas, little terns, powerful owls and osprey.
Ms Gale said although the loss of these species in one local community such as the shire may not seem significant, if there were few other places where these animals were found, the loss from one community could have a major impact on the survival of an entire species.
Dan Grover, CEO of Dymocks, said that for every drawing entered, Dymocks would donate $1 to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife. The money raised will go towards conservation projects for little penguins.
Ranger pushes for quoll funding
12/06/2008 8:37:00 AM
The discovery of spotted-tailed quolls at a Spicer’s Creek property has led the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to issue a request for people to report future sightings.
A map released by the department last week shows there have been up to 10 spotted-tailed quoll sightings in the local area in the past 15 years.
“We would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone who thinks they might have seen one,” NPWS ranger Melanie Bannerman said.
The public interest has also prompted a local ranger to push for funding to monitor the vulnerable native animals.
“With sightings near Ballimore, Red Hill and Spicer’s Creek there have been five sightings in the local area in recent years,” Rural Lands Protection Board ranger Lisa Thomas said.
She is very excited about the find and hopes it will lead to widespread support to allow for survival of the species. Mrs Thomas said the area where they were found, with its natural bushland and granite outcrops, is a perfect breeding ground.
“I don’t want it to impact on farmers’ livelihoods but I’d like to seek funding to operate further monitoring,” she said.
Suggestions made by Mrs Thomas were to encourage a study of their habitat including setting up a camera to record the quoll’s nocturnal activities.
It is already known that foxes are a major threat to the quolls both in terms of food sources and predation.
So with the spotted-tailed quoll’s breeding cycle now in full swing and the upcoming fox baiting season, Mrs Thomas said it is important to consider best practices. In fact, she believes it is the efforts being made to reduce pests that has contributed to increased quoll activity.
“We already know that quolls are not prone to digging so underground baiting will still be effective.”
Mrs Thomas now hopes that landholders will remain vigilant in pest eradication but to be aware of the native fauna.
“To be more observant and acknowledge what’s there,” was her advice.
“And to keep a balance.”
The annual fox baiting information sessions will begin at the end of June with the Spicer’s Creek meeting planned for mid-July.
30/05/2008 10:52:00 AM
An endangered species rarely ever seen in the local district has been discovered by a Spicer’s Creek grazier.
Geoff Taylor has had the unusual experience of sighting not one but two spotted-tailed quolls in recent weeks.
A native carnivore, the quoll or ‘tiger cat’ is almost unheard of in this area and sightings have not been reported since the early 1950s.
“I was fairly surprised,” Mr Taylor said after finding the animal in the family chookyard on his ‘Gunnegalderie’ property 25kms north-east of Wellington.
Recognising the extraordinary find, he immediately contacted WIRES but the animal had been injured in its hunting expedition and was later euthanased.
Mr Taylor’s second sighting occurred a few weeks later when he was driving home from town.
“It was on the road about four or five kilometres from our house,” he said.
“I knew immediately what it was and got a pretty clear look at it.
“It was a pretty unique experience because they are so elusive.”
As far as habitat goes, the spotted-tailed quoll favours forest woodland and dense coastal heathland. According to a fact sheet published by the Department of Environment and Heritage, its distribution has markedly decreased since European settlement, and it is now uncommon across most of its range.
“The small Queensland subspecies is nationally endangered and the larger south-eastern subspecies, although common in Tasmania, is listed as nationally vulnerable,” the fact sheet says.
The discovery has prompted excitement among local wildlife enthusiasts.
At first, Mike Augee was sceptical about the find but certainly excited by the prospect.
“It’s quite uncommon as they are thought to be totally non-existent in this area,” he said.
“But it’s fantastic, it really is quite exciting that they are still here - they are a lovely animal.”
According to Mr Augee, competition with foxes and the threat of domestic animals such as dogs and cats have contributed to the quoll’s scarcity.
“The population that is left cannot compete with foxes which are certainly dominant,” he said.
Local Rural Lands Protection Board ranger Lisa Thomas was also thrilled by the finding.
“I find the discovery a wonderful experience and feel privileged that we have evidence of them in our precious neck of the woods instead of being envious of others,” she said.
Mrs Thomas said the quoll-spotting also provided a further incentive to get a robust monitoring system up and running.
Meanwhile, for Mr Taylor it’s business as usual, but he is planning to continue with fox eradication on his property to give the quolls a chance at survival.
“I like to see the native fauna coming back,” he said.
Spotted-tailed quoll facts
-Scientific name: Dasyurus maculatus
-Common names: Spot-tailed quoll, tiger cat
-Average head-body length: 38 to 76cm (male); 35 to 45cm (female)
-Tail length: 37 to 55cm (male); 34 to 42cm (female)
-Average weight: Up to 7kg (male); up to 4kg (female)
-Threats: Predation by foxes; competition with foxes and feral cats; poison baiting for dogs, foxes and rabbits; and chance events such as bushfires and disease.
-Food sources: It forages in trees and on rock faces as well as on the ground. It is largely nocturnal and eats small to medium sized mammals and birds, such as possums and rosellas, and also large insects, spiders and scorpions.
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Apr 16th, 2008
A Colac district woman is afraid to return home after staring into the eyes of a large black cat.
Barongarook’s Connie Whistance said she now believed stories about an Otway panther after seeing a black cat “the size of a small cow” metres from her car.
Ms Whistance was nearing her Alford Road home late Monday night when she and friend Phillip Little of Beech Forest saw a pair of large glowing eyes in front of them.
The black cat sighting was the second in two days after a Mornington Peninsula tourist reported seeing a similar animal near Beech Forest on Sunday afternoon.
Ms Whistance said yesterday she was still panicked by her encounter and was unsure when she would return home.
She said the couple sat staring at the animal in shock for about three minutes and were amazed by its size and “massive eyes”.
“They were piercing fluorescent, greeny-yellow eyes. They were evil eyes, they were very, very scary,” Ms Whistance said.
“When I drove a bit closer it bent down and I could see its shoulder blades and they were as big as my cat, but then it vanished into the dark,” she said.
“It was as black as black and it was big.”
Ms Whistance, who moved to Barongarook from Geelong eight weeks ago, reported the sighting to Colac police.
Ms Whistance, who despite her fear of the panther, does not want authorities to harm the animal, said she had noticed unusual tracks around her home and would not leave her pets outside.
George Devik, who lives east of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula, said he spotted a big black animal while driving along Binns Track near Beech Forest.
“The head I didn’t see but the body I did and it looked like a big cat,” he said.
“It was as black as black and it had a big black bushy tail.”
Mr Devik said he had visited the Otways since he was young and had doubted the existence of an Otways panther.
“To be honest up until Sunday afternoon I was very sceptical of the black cat conspiracy, until I saw what I saw,” he said.
“Now I truly believe there is a black type of cat and it was very large.”
Big cat researcher Simon Townsend said the latest sightings were the first reported in the Otways for a couple of years, but he suspects more people have seen a panther.
Mr Townsend said descriptions of the black cat were consistent with other reported black cats from the Otways, but the two sightings were probably a coincidence and not the same animal.
“There is clearly a population of them, not just one animal,” he said.
Mr Townsend said people should be careful if they spotted a panther because researchers were uncertain about their behaviour patterns.
20/08/2008 4:00:00 AM
A LARGE black cat surprised a Glenorie woman last week on her 50-acre property, the latest in a spate of ‘panther’ sightings across the north-west of Sydney.
Cheryl Gilbert, who runs her essential oils business Balanced Essentials from her bush acreage, saw the animal, which she described as “bigger than a labrador”, while jogging on her property.
“It was black-brown and looked dappled in the light, with a slight leopard look, a reasonably sized tail…it sort of curved up a bit,” she told The Gazette last week.
Ms Gilbert was too frightened to continue her jog and called her husband to come and get her so she would not risk running into the cat again. “This is really serious. It should be dealt with, and quickly. When you can’t even walk on your own property because you’re terrified…it’s not good at all,” she said.
“We’ve contacted a lot of people...police, zoos...it concerns me that we’ve had no help whatsoever. We used to have a lot of wallabies and now we have none.”
A similar cat-like animal has also been sighted throughout the Hawkesbury and as far afield as Berowra, Kenthurst, Maraylya and Middle Dural in the past eight years.
Readers can report all big cat sightings to Chris Coffey by calling 4572 1291 for inclusion in a confidential database.
19/08/2008 12:00:00 AM
WHEN Cheryl Gilbert went jogging on Tuesday, she got more than a run for her money.
A confrontation with a cat with a leopard-like head on her Glenorie property, which backs onto the Maroota State Forest, had her phoning her husband for help rather than turning her back on the animal. Big-cat sightings in Sydney's north-west hit the 350 mark last week when Mrs Gilbert came face to face with one of the fearsome predators while she was jogging around the back of the property before lunch.
``I came around the corner and there it was in a clearing only about 20 feet [six metres] away much, much bigger than a cat,'' she said. ``It was a blackish colour, with dappled markings I think they're called rosettes.
``It looked at me, then turned around and went into the bush. It had a thick, fairly long tail, a little less than a metre long. It had a leopard-like head with small ears. It made no noise at all.''
Mrs Gilbert was more surprised than frightened and said it was not until later that she ``basically panicked''.
She rang her husband Mark on her mobile to ask him to pick her up. After finding a large paw print in their shed and other recent sightings in the neighbourhood, the Gilberts are convinced there are large cats in the area. ``We used to have a lot of wallabies on our lower paddock and they're not there any more,'' Mrs Gilbert said.
Chris Coffey of Kurrajong, who has 350 confirmed sightings on her Hawkesbury big cat database, said Mrs Gilbert's sighting was unusual.
``This is the first sighting we've had where the rosettes have been obvious, which means it had to be too close for comfort,'' Ms Coffey said. ``There's no doubt that we have a breeding population out there and it's only a matter of time before something tragic happens.''
Posted on August 7, 2008, 10.10pm
It’s not just Mount Gambier and surrounding areas that big cats have been sighted. These sightings have been going on for decades, all over Australia. The Grampians Puma being one of the most popular.
During World War 2, American servicemen brought American Mountain Lions cubs into the Mount Gambier area to be used as mascots.
At the end of the war, Australian authorities advised the soldiers to release the animals in the Grampians.
After the release, the soldiers continued to leave food out for the animals and within a short time the animals failed to return for the food.
At this time it was assumed that the animals had not survived in the wild. This explanation in not convincing because sightings of these cats were recorded prior to World War 2.
The earliest Victorian big cat reports date back to the mid 1880’s around the outskirts of Melbourne. However in recent years, the central west of the state, around Hamilton, Ararat, Maryborough, St Arnaud and the wild and rugged Grampians, have become the centre of activity.
It’s not that hard to beleive there are big cats out there. Just look at the feral cat in the photo on the left, shot in Queensland and standing at 50cm (to the height of its back).
Living in the wild and feeding on carcases, farmers’ chickens and whatever else they can get their claws into, it’s wonder they grow to large sizes.
And what about The Safari Cat on the right? A cross between an ocelot and a domestic cat, proving that wild cats and domestic cats do in fact interbreed.
Therefore, if there were wild cats released into the wild. That could quite possibly be the result of what people are witnessing now. Simply a cross of wild and domestic cats.
Garrett bans cats with 'wild' genes
August 03, 2008 12:00am
A DOMESTIC cat with the temperament and genes of a wild animal has been banned from Australia.
Environment Minister Peter Garrett has banned the hybrid savannah cat, which costs $5000, because it poses a threat to Australia's native animals.
The first group of 15 savannah cats, descendants of Africa's serval wildcat and due to arrive in Australia this year, are in quarantine in the US.
Mr Garrett has changed the definition of domestic cat to rule out cats with the serval's genes.
"On all the evidence I have seen, the risks associated with allowing this cross-bred cat into the country, when we already have up to 12 million feral cats wreaking havoc on native fauna, are simply too great," he said.
He said advice suggested the animal might have "the more efficient hunting traits" of the serval.
Conservationists, including the RSPCA, have warned that introducing the wild cats would threaten native wildlife, such as koalas.
But a Victorian breeder, who has spent more than $60,000 trying to bring savannah cats to Australia, wants compensation.
Yesterday, Savannahs Australia's Chris Winchester, of Pearcedale, said Mr Garrett was "trying to score brownie points because he didn't support the whaling (issue) as much as he should have".
"He just wants to look good in front of the public," Mr Winchester said.
Mr Garrett received about 500 public submissions opposing the importation of the cat.
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Academic Michael Woodley addresses the UK's Weird Weekend 2008 about cryptozoological classifications.
Updated August 27, 2008 11:55:33
The mother of an Australian man who was lost for eleven days in a jungle in Laos says her son has described being chased by giant lizards.
Hayden Adcock went missing in the jungle for eleven days after he went on a trek to visit a waterfall.
He was rescued by local villagers last week and remains in a critical condition in a Bangkok hospital.
His mother Lynne Sturrock says her son has horrific wounds and says he was attacked by wild animals.
She says he had to climb over a cliff to escape from the lizards.
"He'd said he had never seen anything like them before," she said.
"I think they could be related to Komodo Dragons only not as big, but you know quite large because he has seen goannas in Australia, but these were horrible and larger and all of a sudden this group of lizards started chasing him."
BY COL ALLISON
26/08/2008 4:00:00 AM
A KENTHURST woman whose eight-year-old son saw a black panther-like animal kill a crow near the stables of her Ascot Road property last week is terrified for her three children.
``I'm not afraid of the big cat coming up to the house, but the stables aren't far away and my eldest son feeds the horse. Now I stand guard at the gate while he feeds it. He's terrified and so am I, frankly,'' the woman, who declined to be named, told the News yesterday.
``I won't go out in the yard on my own any more, but I worry about my two-year-old.
``I can't take my eyes off her as she's a goer.
``The dog is scared, too, and won't leave the house.''
The boy was down in the horse paddock last Friday at 5pm when a large black cat bigger than a labrador at about a metre long with long tail, short round ears and yellow eyes appeared from behind the stables.
``We thought we had a fox on the property knocking off our ducks and chooks,'' the woman said.
``Then the cat appeared.
``My boy was rooted to the spot and watched it for about 30 seconds from about 15 metres away.
``It went down on its stomach and launched itself over a bush and grabbed a big black bird, a crow, rolled twice and then went off into the bush with the bird.''
Very upset, she rang the Department of Primary Industries.
``They said I should fill out a form. They obviously didn't believe me. No one cares,'' she said.
The NSW Minister for Water, Nathan Rees, said at the River Summit last week that the ``black panther is an urban myth''.
This, despite a steady stream of hundreds of reported sightings of leopard- or cougar-like cats seen in the Hills, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains regions over recent years.
Friday, 11 April 2008
Wednesday, 12 March 2008
The search is on for the evidence, video footage, casts, photographs recordings, eye-witness accounts.
Have you seen a big cat in the British countryside, more importantly have you any evidence?
A search for a suitable location, on land with frequent sightings is also being sought for two nights filming. Big Cats in Britain press release.
Can you help. Big cats are reported everyday from somewhere in Britain, yet the hard evidence to support these black cats is virtually non-existent. People are obviously seeing something, but what. Can you help clear up the mystery?
Mark Fraser is collating the evidence, please contact him on 07940 016972, or email at email@example.com or visit the website at www.bigcatsinbritain.org
Big Cats in Britain (BCIB) is the only group in Britain dedicated on a daily basis to finding out the answers to the big cat mystery. We have a core of experts that we can call upon, including scientists, zoologists, professional trackers, and police officers.
There is no such thing as a black puma, and black leopards are relatively rare in their country of origin. People in the UK are seeing something, but what? We need that evidence.
Thursday, 28 February 2008
Sunday, 10 February 2008
February 10, 2008 12:00am
TASMANIAN tiger sighting in Victoria has reignited the theory that the species may have been introduced to the mainland before it became extinct in this state.
Victorian farmer Harry Cook owns a property bordering the Otway Ranges south of Melbourne.Late last year he was with a mate inspecting crop damage caused by rabbits when they spotted three wedge-tailed eagles circling the paddock.
"They were circling over an animal -- we got within 12 foot of it. It was about the size of a large dog with a very long tail that was sticking straight up in the air as if it was fending off the wedgies," Mr Cook said.
"There were white stripes on its chest and it had a boofy head with round ears and the side of the muzzle was white."
He copped a lot of flak for reporting the peculiar sight, but not because no one believed him.
"Farmers around here told me I had broken the code of silence -- that they had seen things too, but as soon as it is reported all the townies come with their rifles trying to shoot it."
Mr Cook is not alone in experiencing such a sighting.
A former engineer, who did not want to be named, said he saw a dog-like animal in his headlights near Torquay in May 2006.
He described it in minute detail, from its slender body and fluid movements to the prison bar "salt and pepper" coloured stripes on its flanks.
"I can guarantee you there is a feral animal of some sort out there with short hair and stripes on the side; if someone says that description matches a tiger than I would say it is a tiger," he said.
Amateur researcher (name removed)has logged eight recent sightings near Geelong, in a triangle between Anglesea, Torquay and Freshwater Creek.
In November 1998 he videotaped what he claims was a thylacine in East Gippsland. The grainy footage can be found on YouTube.
Mr (name removed) has a theory that tigers were introduced to Wilsons Promontory between 1910 and 1915.During that time the park's committee of management had a policy of stocking the national park with endangered species including kangaroos, tiger quolls and birds.
"The timing is interesting because there are no records of tiger sightings until after 1912," Mr (name removed) said.
"The tiger still had a reputation as a stock killer so the last thing the committee would want to do is publicise it for fear farmers would go and shoot them, so that could be one reason why it was kept quiet."
Local wildlife biologist and thylacine guru Nick Mooney had heard the theory before and said it didn't wash.
"There is no evidence whatsoever beyond a vague conspiracy. There were some animals released at Wilsons Promontory but tigers were not on the list," he said.
He and other independent experts have examined Mr (name removed) footage and believe it to be a mangy fox carrying a rabbit. Most mainland sightings could similarly be dismissed as stray dogs, foxes or even illusions, because the last fossil record of thylacines on mainland Australia date back to 1000 years before white settlement.
But Mr Mooney, who works in the Tasmanian Government's wildlife management branch, is by no means a sceptic about the tiger's continued existence: "I have always said it is possible -- not probable, but possible."
He still receives at least two "credible" Tasmanian sightings a year.
"I got a call the other day from two shooters near Cradle Mountain who had to have seen a thylacine, or they are lying," Mr Mooney said.
"They were probably spotlighting illegally so there doesn't appear to be a motive for them to lie.
"The location was perfect and their description faultless."
Monday, 21 January 2008
An eyewitnesses siting on Sunday and unexplained paw prints discovered beside a farm dam have added credence to the belief a large wild cat may be stalking the area.
Coliban Water bailiff Dennis Clapham spotted the large animal while on his way to turn on channel water for Harcourt Valley Vineyards shortly before 7 am on Sunday.
‘‘I was driving up Milford Road when I saw this big black cat as it was just emerging from the long grass,’’ Mr Clapham said.
‘‘I saw it and it saw me, then it took off like a scalded cat.’’
Mr Clapham said from a distance of less than 100 metres he estimated the animal to be about 60 cm high and with a body length of up to a metre that moved with a distinctly feline quality.
‘‘I was a bit sceptical to start with, but the more you listen to people around here, and hear anecdotally of mauled sheep or kangaroos chomped in half and dragged halfway up trees, it makes you wonder what the hell it is.’’
He added: ‘‘If feral cats can get that big, then I’m scared.’’
Harcourt Valley Vineyards owner Kye Livingstone said his brother had first sighted the paw prints at the dam’s edge on the weekend, but had suspected them of being a neighbour’s dog.
But, he said his neighbour’s dogs tended to wander off together and the single set of prints, each measuring eight centimetres across, indicated something much larger.
‘‘I didn’t believe it to begin with, but whatever it is, this is something a fair bit bigger than my pup,’’ he said.
Mr Livingstone said the paw prints added to many local stories, and he would like to see a register made of the collected evidence of something living in the area.
‘‘At this time of year when we are irrigating, the water goes down quickly leaving the mud exposed,’’ he said.
‘‘It would take quite a bit of weight to push down into that mud.’’ Mr Livingstone said roadworks in the valley appeared to be bringing the animal further out of the bush.
He said the Calder Freeway route had eliminated some of the small farms and dams at the rear of this property, and could mean the animal was coming further out in search of water.
‘‘The thing is there is probably plenty of food about with roos and rabbits, but it is water which is the problem.’’ One Harcourt resident who moved as the freeway came through, Michael Warrend said he suspected his dog encountered the cat on his former property, which adjoined the bush of the Castlemaine Diggings National Park.
‘‘My small blue heeler cross will get a hold of a snake and go after anything, but one day he chased something down the water race,’’ he said.
‘‘But he came bolting back and went and sat in his kennels for two days.’’ Mr Warren believes the animal could be the descendant of a released wildcat, or the product of 20 to 30 generations of interbreeding and adaptation of feral cats, capable of producing an animal of this size.
‘‘Whatever it is, it is big,’’ he said.
Saturday, 19 January 2008
Tuesday, 1 January 2008