Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Big cat study small on results

The existence of big cats in Victoria is "highly unlikely" a State Government report has found.

Now the Arthur Rylah Institute has called off the investigation it ran, citing a lack of hard evidence to verify wild big cats in the state.

And the official conclusion is that big cats sighted over the years are large feral domestic cats, according to Victorian Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh.

He said his pre-election commitment to run a "desk" study into whether big cats existed was now met, and further investigation was not warranted.

The study did reveal that preliminary DNA evidence could not be dismissed, but it was not conclusive to prove beyond reasonable doubt the identity of the animal in question.

But Toolangi naturalist Bernie Mace described the study as "inconclusive" and said its results did not put him off.

He said sooner or later someone would get the perfect photo or the necessary DNA evidence to prove big cats exist.

Mr Mace, who has been researching big cats in the region for about 30 years, said the investigation had been too short and he believed the cats were out there.

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