Thursday, 28 August 2008

Otways panther terrifies woman

Otways panther terrifies woman
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.

Panther sightings spike

Panther sightings spike
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, 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.

Big cat walks again

Cat walks again
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.''

Mudgee business says it knows him

Western Plains Zoo’s alleged employee impersonator - who has left a trail from North Queensland to Melbourne as well as Dubbo and his home town of Gulgong - may have also made his mark in Mudgee.
Mark Butler of Mudgee Embroidery & Uniforms said about six months ago, a young man who said he was from Gulgong, and gave his name as Adrian Simpson, came in with a zoo logo and ordered some shirts to be embroided with the logo.
“Because he had what appeared to be a genuine logo, I thought nothing more of it and did the work and phoned when they were ready,” Mr Butler said.
“However, he has never called to collect and pay for the order.
“And I have tried to phone him several times in the past six months but have not been able to get any reply.
“I guess the order might not get collected now, unless the police want them.
“It cost $30 to have the logo made up and the total bill is $120.
“He spoke to one of my employees whose son is interested in animals and left his business card with her and told her he might be able to get her son a ‘start’ at Western Plains Zoo”.
Mr Butler still has the three shirts and the invoice dated February 20, 2008, the day before police executed the search warrant.
Simpson is currently facing seven charges for allegedly fraudulently mis-representing Western Plains Zoo.
He is scheduled to return to Mudgee Local Court on September 17 to face fraud charges, relating to incidents between September 2007 and February 2008.

Dubbo's Western Plains Zoo's Identity Is Stolen

Who's who at the Zoo?
A Gulgong man, alleged to have misrepresented himself as an employee of Dubbo’s Western Plains Zoo, has had fraud charges against him adjourned to Mudgee Local Court on September 17.
Police facts tendered to the court last week state that from September last year to February this year, Adrian Timothy Simpson, 19, of Stubbo Road went on a masquerade of falsely claiming to be a Western Plains Zoo employee.
It is alleged his escapade began in Gulgong when he produced business cards from the zoo in his name as big cat handler and big cat manager.
He then purchased a scanner from Dick Smith Electronics at Dubbo and charged it to the zoo using a zoo order form.
Simpson continued his charade when he approached Ian Bateman of Roadrunners at Dubbo for sponsorship of an animal rescue vehicle. Roadrunners supplied the flashing lights and delivered its equipment, on Simpson’s instructions, to Amy Turner of Snelsons Lane Gulgong.
The following month, Simpson was driving a vehicle bearing Western Plains Zoo stickers on both sides when it is alleged that he drove two people around the zoo and utilised the scanner purchased from Dick Smith Electronics.
At the time he was said to have had an assistant named Amy with him and that they were both wearing Western Plains Zoo shirts similar to the ones sold in the zoo’s souvenir shop.
He is then alleged to have applied for work firstly at a koala hospital in Port Macquarie late last year and then, in January, applied to the Melbourne Zoo.
On both occasions he is said to have purported to have been employed at Western Plains Zoo and indicated to the koala hospital that he was the senior carnivore keeper.
While in the Port Macquarie area he was stopped by police at North Haven for being suspected of driving a vehicle using flashing red and blue lights and at the time told police he worked at Western Plains Zoo.
On January 14, Zoos Victoria received an application for employment from Simpson and on this occasion he is alleged to have supplied a certificate in his name from Tropical North Queensland TAFE for a “Certificate III in Captive Animal Care and Management”.
The TAFE state there is no such course run at the TAFE and that Simpson has never been enrolled at the TAFE.
Police executed a search warrant at Simpson’s home address on February 21 and located a set of red/blue flashing lights; Western Plains Zoo business cards in Simpson’s name that were similar to ones presented at a Gulgong supermarket and reports in Simpson’s name and Western Plains Zoo identity tags in Simpson’s name.
Police also found a tax invoice for the red/blue flashing lights for $1900.55, a letter to Dick Smith Electronics authorising the purchase of the scanner and was signed in the name of Maria Finnigan and some large magnets depicting the Western Plains Zoo logo.
All these located items have been identified by Western Plains Zoo as being fraudulent.
Numerous other items relating to zoos were also located at Simpson’s address, identified and seized.
Simpson is charged with make false instrument, obtain money by deception, fraudulent personation with intent to commit fraud, two counts of use false instrument and two counts of have false instrument.
Simpson was represented by Mudgee solicitor Allan Hogan when he appeared before Registrar Tony Goodwin in Mudgee Local Court last week.
When adjourning the matter to September 17, Mr Goodwin continued Simpson’s bail conditions.

Big cat sightings all over Australia

Big cat sightings all over Australia
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.

Savannah cat ban in Australia

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

In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans - Weird Weekend 2008

Academic Michael Woodley addresses the UK's Weird Weekend 2008 about cryptozoological classifications.

Aussie dogged by giant lizards in Laos

Mother describes Laos lizard attack
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."

Hills cat makes an appearance

Panther-like animal seen killing bird
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.


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