Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Hunter's Boolaroo Beast re-examined

The Newcastle Herald blog team revisited the Boolaroo Beast (as we've just decided to christen it) this week online, in a mildly tongue-in-cheek fashion. But we can tell they're secretly impressed.

The photograph below was taken by keen photographer Shane Foreman, and appeared in the book Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers.

Shane Foreman's panther picture, taken in 2007.
Here's their take:

The Lake Panther. Let’s find this baby and get it to a vet, or at least put a bell on it.

That’s our mission, and there’s good news.

Topics’ Panther surveillance unit – Panther Under Regional Review, or PURR – has had a boost. We’ve got an actual panther witness on board.

Shane Foreman snapped this image near Boolaroo in 2007.

We’re a bit stunned. The shimmering coat, the spring-loaded shoulders; they’re way more pantherish than we expected.

What’s more, he insists they’re not Photoshopped.

‘‘I don’t have Photoshop, and believe Photoshop is for people who can’t take photos,’’ he tells us.

Mr Foreman believes he’s seen big cats twice in Hunter woodlands.

The first sighting in February 2007 yielded this photo by the rail line.

A second was near Muswellbrook in October 2009 on a 7000-hectare property owned by a mate. He’s quick to add that while he was hunting at the time he wasn’t drinking.

‘‘Alcohol and guns don’t mix,’’ Mr Foreman says. And so do we.

Sober people also take better photos, so keep that in mind next time you’re snapping the Lake Panther.

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