Friday, 8 October 2010

There's Tigers and Big Cats in WA

Thylacines and big cats still lurk in the South West forests, according to Alan Troode of Nannup.

He collects and collates stories of both big cat and “Nannup tiger” (thylacine) sightings, concentrating on reports from around Nannup .

Alan first became interested in the thylacine when reading newspaper articles published in the early 1980s.

He was intrigued by the thought that the South West forests might harbour such fabulous animals and his interest was reignited when he moved to Nannup in the late 1990s.

Work and family commitments allowed him limited time to pursue the stories but conversations with locals fortified his interest.

He quickly came to the conclusion that he was not only looking at stories and descriptions of the Thylacine but also large predatory cats, not wild feral domestic cats but an animal the size of the mountain lion, cougar or puma , Felis Concolor .

He reckons he has an unbiased point of view when taking down thylacine stories and he soon realised that anything that moved in the bush that was not easily identified was claimed to be the Nannup tiger.

Some incidents contributing to the Nannup tiger legend showed traits and characteristics that Alan can only describe as speculative. Still he came to the conclusion that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor — two distinct predatory animals — roam the South West.

Two distinct animals give rise to two distinct animal hunters, he said. Information about both animals has been diverse, controversial and stories have been at odds with each other at times.

There is very little information about the thylacine and some reported characteristics cloud the issue further.

Reports have the tiger ranging in colour from light yellow to fawn, light brown to dark biscuit and all black — and with or without stripes.

Vocalisations have been described as hissing, coughing, snarling, growling and snapping.

During mating the mysterious beast is said to have a blood-curdling scream.

Often caught in car headlights at night, the blue eyes are believed to be the black tiger and the amber eyes belonging to the yellow chocolate tiger, he said.

Habits such as scratching sticks and dirt over carcases, multiple kills and the size of some animals killed brings into question the weight to kill ratio.

On some occasions the animal is described as being rather inquisitive and in no hurry to move and other reports have the animal taking flight and gone in a flash.

All this conflicting information has led Alan to believe that both the thylacine and Felis Concolor are still at large in the South West.

“I am only starting to scratch the tip of the iceberg so to speak and have a lot of further work to do on correlating both types of sightings,” he said.

“There are sightings of both animals in many areas claiming both tiger and cat occurrences.

“It is my hope to be able to engage believers of both animals in a more comprehensive look at the predatory animals that roam the forests with an open unbiased approach — to give validity and authenticity, to clear up some of the speculation and misinformation.”

Alan believes this can only help to strengthen belief in the presence of both the big cat and the Nannup tiger.

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