Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Monster tuna the ultimate fisherman's tale

Recreational fishermen netted a monster tuna weighing in at 122kg off the Victoria coast yesterday.

Chris Vasileyski, one member of a four-man crew, told The Age the fish would not be the one that got away.

"We chunked it up and took it home," he said, confirming the crew members would keep the prized tuna for themselves.

Mr Vasileyski runs the Gone Fishing Charter company but was on duty and just "fishing with mates" from Melbourne and Geelong at the time of the huge catch.

Monday, 21 May 2012

VIC big cat search called off

An official search for the Otways big cat has been called off, according to The Geelong Advertiser.

Department of Primary Industries staff assigned to a state-wide hunt have been redirected and Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the program had been shelved.

It was revealed in January this year that South Barwon MP Andrew Katos had sought advice on potential grants for DNA analysis, on behalf of a local group chasing proof of big cats in the Otways.

The two men heading the group, Simon Townsend and John Turner, have dedicated themselves to finding proof of the panther-like predators.

Mr Walsh was asked about the search for the big black cat during a budget estimates hearing at Parliament yesterday.

"It's something that has been a part of Victorian folklore for quite a few decades," he said.

"There are those who firmly believe there are some big cats out there. There are those who are equally as certain there are no big cats.

"When the resources are available, we will have a search of all the information about the big black cat issue."

Labor MP Martin Pakula said: "I reckon by the time they start looking for kitty, it will have gone the way of the Tassie tiger."

Mr Walsh said the DHS staff would be reassigned to a program tackling the state's wild dog program.

"The issues around wild dog attacks are well document, both on farm animals and native fauna," he said.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Thylacoleo alive and well up north?

Not everyone is prepared to dismiss the Tweed legend of a large flesh-eating marsupial lion stalking the dense hinterland near Tumbulgum, with a handful of locals convinced the beast is real - according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

For years an urban myth about this ancient creature has circulated on the Tweed.

But experts reject the theory, saying Thylacoleo carnifex (murderous lion) was too long extinct.

Fossils indicate the marsupial lion was the largest meat-eating mammal known to have ever existed in Australia.

The beasts were about 75cm high at the shoulder and about 150cm from head to tail and had retractable claws, a trait unique to marsupials.

Tweed Historical Society member Brian Boyd said he heard the stories about a creature near north Tumbulgum and from the descriptions he had been given, it could only be one thing.

"I know a few people who have seen the creature. They have recalled it for me and provided sketches," he said.

"Every time we get the same description. It looks like a large tiger or lion but it has cramped-up hind legs more like a marsupial.

"It has a thick stunted nose like a wombat and is covered in brindle fur with sulphur yellow spots.

"These descriptions fit the bill with the marsupial lion."

Mr Boyd is so engrossed by the stories and descriptions he has been given by locals that he has built a scale papier mache model of the creature, which turns heads when he puts it on his front lawn in Tweed Heads West.

"I have a friend who has seen it twice and he said it was like no other creature he had ever seen in Australia," he said.

"Just maybe one of these creatures survived and it is happy out there feeding off the wildlife near Tumbulgum."

Northern New South Wales environmental scientist Gary Opit, 64, is adamant a marsupial lion does exist, saying he has seen such a creature at least four times.

Mr Opit, who hosts a weekly radio segment on the north coast about Australian wildlife, says his encounters with the beast have stretched as far north as Mt Tamborine.

"I first saw it in 1969 when I was working as a National Park Ranger at O'Reilly's," he said.

"I got a perfect view of it and you could tell it was some type of marsupial because it had that waddling walk."

Mr Opit, who grew up on the Gold Coast and studied at Griffith University, said he had seen a marsupial lion again in the Billinudgel Nature Reserve several times since 1995.

Jean-Marc Hero, an associate professor with the Griffith University School of Environment, is less convinced about the possibility a marsupial lion has survived.

Prof Hero said no physical evidence of live marsupial lions had been recovered since British settlement.

"It's more likely to be a quoll or an escaped feral cat, which can get quite large," he said.

"You certainly get quolls out at Springbrook so it would be possible a large one has ventured down further near Tumbulgum."

Monday, 14 May 2012

Backyard surprise: Jet-black kookaburras

Deborah Winfield's suburban Sydney backyard has become a haven for unusual dark birds - but she had no idea what they were or where they had come from.

"They looked like kookaburras but were covered in beautiful glossy black feathers so I got on the net and it turns out they are kookaburras," she told the Daily Telegraph this week.

Australian Museum naturalist Martyn Robinson said: "It's the result of a genetic mutation called hyper-melanism - an excess production of dark pigmentation and a similar, but opposite, mutation to albinism.

"Not a lot is known about them but it appears it might be more common in young kookaburras and that they might change back to almost normal colouration on their first moult."

And that's where the story of the visitors, who appeared two weeks ago, gets even more strange.

"The first black kookaburra was a young one and turned up with two normal-looking ones, then two adult black kookaburras started appearing as well," Ms Winfield said.

"Now the younger black bird is actually getting darker, not lighter, and it only appears and stays with the two older black ones, and we even have a fourth darker kookaburra, but not as dark as the others, turning up too."

It should be noted kookaburras are very territorial and all of the birds visiting Ms Winfield's backyard will likely be part of the same close family group.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

OOPA: UK wallaby sighting delights and surprises

Well I’ll be! A wallaby who hopped its way down a farm track in Pluckley is now set to become a YouTube hit, according to Kent Online.A 14-second film clip was taken by village resident Alex Pooley who caught the cheeky creature on camera as she walked her dog Shackleton, two.
The 29-year-old said: “We were in a field near the train station and I saw what I thought was a giant hare, but then it moved and started hopping.
Wallaby spotted in Pluckley
“I was a bit surprised to say the least and the dog was off the lead at the time and he went off to investigate. They ran around for a couple of minutes and then he came back and I put him on the lead.
“Then I saw it hopping down the path towards us. It seemed pretty friendly and quite intrigued because it came right up to us.”
Grabbing her mobile phone, teacher Alex managed to film the animal before it once again hopped off.
Wallabies are generally found in Australia though have been spotted in the UK including areas of Devon and East Sussex.
In 2009 a ghost hunting trip to Pluckley that ended up with a family being spooked by a wallaby (pictured above).
Wallaby hit by motorist Kate Scorey as she was driving home in the dark.
Mum Mandy Page took daughters Sophie and Lauren for a bit of spirit spotting in November. But instead of a headless horseman, they found a wallaby staring back at them.
The month before that, commuter Ula Griggs encountered a wallaby crossing the road. The stunned motorist saw it bounce across at Bell Lane, just outside Pluckley.
In 2005 a wallaby (pictured left) was hit by motorist Kate Scorey at the Texaco garage, A20 outside Lenham as she was driving home in the dark.
In September 2008, a wallaby was spotted on Magpie Hall Road in Stubbs Cross. It was believed to be Wesley, a wallaby that had escaped from a farm eight years before and was frequently glimpsed around the area.
The creatures have a life expectancy of about 18 years.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Monster pig no hoax - 2009 deja vu!

Doing the rounds since 2009, this powerful porker has captured the imaginations of many web surfers, however its sheer size has lead many people to label it a hoax.

In fact, the photograph is genuine.

At least that is what The Mercury newspaper in Tasmania is saying about this photo, rumoured to be of Pilbara pastoralist John Anick and his 'catch of the day' photograph snapped three years ago.

The 220kg beast was reportedly eating a cow when first seen by workers mustering cattle in a helicopter in Western Australia.

The paper said Mr Anick saw the beast again on a trip to check windmills on the property and shot it.

"I can vouch 100 per cent that it (the photo) was taken in the Pilbara and it is who I said it is," a source close to the Anick family said.

Back in 2009, WA authorities were clamouring to declare the photograph a hoax. Funnily enough, the Pilbara-Anick connection was also made in 2009 by an equally mysterious source - so we're not sure why it's news again this week. Perhaps it just takes a little bit longer for some stories to filter down south!

Anyway, if it's legit, then big cats and yowies aren't the only creatures to look out for in the Australian bush!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Book review: Yowie Tales 1

by Mike Williams

UPDATE: The reason Mr Green did not answer any questions is because he had "borrowed" the photos he claimed he had captured. Typically unapologetic, Green has now withdrawn the book and is no longer involved in any form of research. The "borrowed" photos and other Green "accidents" are listed here.

Queensland writer Brett Green's book 'Yowie Tales' has just been published, and there are more than a few surprises contained within it.

I found the stories and reports by eyewitnesses really interesting and look forward to the second book by Brett.

The two images purportedly of yowies, if proven to be real one day, could be some of the most important secondary evidence of unusual creatures ever recorded!

The Queensland area that Brett concentrates on in his book surpasses, in many ways, the Blue Mountains of NSW, which has been promoted for many years now as a Yowie 'hot spot'. 

'Yowie Tales' is a definite 'must have' for any cryptozoology enthusiast in Australia. 
Those interested in Bigfoot-type phenomena will be equally enthralled by tales of strange encounters in the Australian bush.

I recently corresponded with Brett by email and sent a list of questions. 

Brett decided to respond to all my questions listed below with this single response:

"Under legal advice, the author has been advised not to make any comment on any unreliable or approved Internet source to any person not duly authorised while a current situation is being investigated."

The Questions

1. In the book sales post on AYR you stated the photos were "verified"
All I am going to say is that the cover image was taken from a genuine photograph from 1998; verified; and has been kept under "wraps"since then along with 3 others.
Which person/group examined and "verified" the photo? And how did they verify the photo?

2. On the Australian Yowie Research board we were told there were four photos in total.
In the book we are told "...sadly when the photographs were developed, six were clear, five were blurred." How many clear, unedited photos were there. Four or six?

3. Where are the five blurred photos?

4. Is their anyone who sighted the original negatives that we are able contact?

5. The photos and negatives are very important secondary evidence of unknown creatures.
Were the original photos/negatives ever shown to scientists/anthropologists etc that can be contacted?

6. The "raid" occurred on January 23-2012 "...duly demanded entrance entrance to the authors workplace and confiscated all research files, photographs, negatives, CD and DVD records..." 
Did you have in your possession, at your workplace, the complete roll of negatives of the yowies before the raid?

7. Did the "government departmental staff" remove the complete roll of negatives of the yowies?

8. Regarding the first photo described in the book, the two males, there is this description:
Then out of nowhere, two creatures appeared on top of the rocky waterfall ledges near a fig tree in a fighting mode as they stood with their backs towards me and facing(or gesturing to other invisible entities in the far tree line ahead ( I was around 100 feet up the hill from them with the road in between, I snapped some hurried snapshots without thinking then they disappeared.
This photo (not released yet, but discussed in the book) was shown to me. This interesting photo shows two creatures level with the photographer. The current description of any elevation above the creatures is impossible. Can the author please explain this?

9. Over the last 14 years since the incident, has the author had time to re-create the original photos at the location?

10. On page 113 "some of the 'illustrations' officialdom did not want anyone to see".
Why would a government department not want the photos to be seen, but allow you to use the photos, so that people can see them?

12. The original interview with AYR is below.
The original story was five witnesses and no photos.
"It was at this location where Brett and 4 friends had witnessed first hand the power of the Yowie in a freak incident while bush walking 3 years ago... Brett went through the story stage by stage, pointing out the exact places and what was viewed... It was a most incredible and amazing story with the names of all the people involved as back up of the encounter."
The next version of the story in 'Yowie Tales' is one witness and photos. Can the author please explain this?

13. The author has been a Justice of the Peace for over 40+ years. With your legal background, are you claiming that you handed over your entire life's work and forgot to ask the two government staff for a copy of the search warrant, forgot to ask them where the police were to serve the warrant, forgot to ring the police and demand these people leave your property, forgot to ask the two government staff for identification for you to record, forgot to ask them for receipts for items seized, and forgot to write down their car registration?

14. If you have handed over your life's work to two frauds, who were not government employees, how could they have possibly known that you knew absolutely nothing about the law (even less than Joe Citizen) and would merely hand over your life's work? They essentially were risking jail time by impersonating government officials while carrying out an illegal raid with fraudulent documentation.
Can the author please explain this?

Giant black cat sighted in VIC

Yet another big cat has been sighted in Yarra Ranges.

This is the third time the big cat has been spotted in the area over the past few months.

A teen was out for an evening stroll along the Belgrave-Gembrook Rd at 6.20pm on Tuesday, April 3 when she heard a deep growl in the bushes.

Jasmina Palarama, 13, swung round and to her horror saw a “gigantic” cat or puma slink into the undergrowth.

The Selby teenager was walking with her brother and his girlfriend when they heard the growling noise and the bushes rustle.

She spotted the animal as it moved off.

“It was a very large black cat with a very large tail. I saw its back leg as it walked into the bushes and it was waist or hip height,” Jasmina said.

“I only saw the large cat for three or four seconds and it had very short black fur.”

A number of sightings have been reported to the Leader over the past few months.

One reader wrote they spotted an animal with a big, black long tail in Steels Creek recently.

Millgrove resident Kym Burton saw a big cat strutting along Warburton Highway towards Seville in February this year.

She noticed the “great big black panther” had big yellow eyes.

And Healesville resident Irene Smith said she and her husband saw a “very beautiful” big cat on the road through Christmas Hills at 1.40am a while back.

“It was standing up on an embankment, it looked like it had black velvet fur,” she said.

A thoroughbred horse in The Basin suffered deep curved claw marks on its upper back flanks in November last year and owner Kate Barry is convinced a puma could be to blame.

The Wantirna South resident stables her seven-year-old horse Oki in a paddock in The Basin, and arrived one morning to find the animal in pain after being attacked.

“I think something came out of the bushes at him,” Ms Barry said.

“Whatever has come at him has come from the back and the claws have come in like hooks.”


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