Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Toyota backs biggest search yet for Tasmanian Tiger

Biggest search yet for elusive Tasmanian Tiger

An international team of naturalists from the Centre for Fortean Zoology will go in search of the Tasmanian Tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus, in one of the biggest concentrated searches yet for the elusive animal, which was officially declared extinct in the early 1980s.

Expedition leader Mike Williams said the trip – generously sponsored by Toyota Australia, and the first of several to be mounted by the group - will explore densely forested areas in the State’s north and south west.

“If we didn’t think there was even a slim chance of stumbling upon evidence in the form of scats, hair or footage, then we wouldn’t have committed to this expedition,” he said.

“Good quality Thylacine sightings are still being reported right across the state of Tasmania – 77 years after the last Thylacine died in captivity in a Tasmanian Zoo, and 27 years after it was declared extinct by the Tasmanian Government.

“A secondary aim of the trip is to look for evidence of healthy Tasmanian Devil, Sarcophilus Harrisii, populations in remote wilderness areas.

“We will also be monitoring for the presence of the No. 1 enemy of the State, Vulpes vulpes, the fox, rumoured to have established itself in Tasmania, and presently the subject of a multi-million dollar government-sponsored hunt.

“Let’s hope between our resources, those of other independent researchers, and the government’s, something comes to light – preferably a Thylacine over a fox - in the next 24 months.”

The team is highly experienced; several members have been on expeditions all over the world, including to Sumatra in 2011 in search of a mystery primate, the so-called Orang pendek, an as-yet unclassified species attracting serious scientific interest.

The team will be traversing the difficult terrain in two Toyota LandCruiser 200s – the luxury Sahara V8 Turbo-Diesel and the GX V8 Turbo-Diesel – and using sophisticated game cameras, starlight scopes, and dash-cameras.

Expedition team members include: Dr Chris Clark (UK), Richard Freeman (UK), Dr Hannah Jenkins (TAS/AUS), Tania Poole (VIC/AUS), Michael Williams (NSW/AUS), Rebecca Lang (NSW/AUS), Tony Healy (ACT/AUS), Orrin Hare (UK), Lisa Malam (UK), and Jonathan McGowan (UK).

Mike Williams can be contacted on 0416 303 371.

Seen a Tiger? Share your sighting at

Mike Williams holds a replica Thylacine skull next to the
Toyota LandCruiser 200 GX Turbo-Diesel.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Yowie flick 'Throwback' gets the schlock horror pulp treatment

We love a good movie poster and this one is a pearler!

A new poster has been released for the upcoming Australian horror feature "Throwback."

Designed by Brazilian artist Juarez Ricci, the retro-style poster evokes the '60s/'70s creature features and pulp adventure movies that inspired the film itself.

Writer/Director Travis Bain says he wanted to avoid the clich├ęs of contemporary movie posters.

"From the get-go I knew I wanted an illustrated poster rather than your typical modern 'floating heads' Photoshop design," Bain says. "Juarez's work reminds me of the old Drew Struzan and Richard Amsel posters I grew up with, so he was a natural choice to create this artwork."

"Throwback" follows two modern-day treasure hunters, a female park ranger and an unhinged ex-cop as they tangle with a Bigfoot-type monster known as a Yowie in the remote jungles of northern Australia. The film stars Shawn Brack, Anthony Ring, Melanie Serafin, and Vernon Wells of "The Road Warrior" and "Commando" fame. The new one-sheet poster is available for collectors to purchase at:

"Throwback" recently premiered at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival in England, and Australian and North American premieres are expected to be announced over the coming months. Already the film has received strong interest from the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York, which recently invited Bain to submit "Throwback" for consideration for their 2014 programme.

"It's not an official acceptance, but it's a step towards one," Bain says. "They're very keen to see the film, so we're crossing our fingers they'll select it for their Midnight Section."

Additionally, the trailer for "Throwback" has been selected for the International Movie Trailer Festival, an online festival in which the public can vote for their favourite trailers. Viewers can vote for the "Throwback" trailer at:

"Throwback" is expected to be released on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD in 2014. For film festival or distributor enquiries, visit or

Saturday, 19 October 2013

NSW big cat report says 'matter closed'

A doctor, dentist, solicitor, clergyman and Qantas pilot have all seen it, as have numerous Rural Fire Service volunteers and an officer from the Department of Agriculture. A NSW detective spoke of how he watched the beast, from barely 50 metres away, for more than a minute. And like most others, he is "convinced" it was a black panther.

Rumours have circulated for decades about a colony of "Big cats" roaming Sydney's western fringes and beyond. But today, a report commissioned by the State Government has concluded that the many hundreds who have seen the panther are wrong.

Ms Coffey said of the report: "We continue to be treated like fringe-dwelling idiots. This is an insult to everyone who has seen the creature."

Read more:

Interestingly, like many state government 'big cat' reports before it, the book Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers was used as a resource!

Friday, 18 October 2013

New report into big cats in NSW

Here's a scoop for you all - the new report into big cats in NSW. Are they or aren't they? Well let's employ someone who knows nothing about big cats and is living in NZ to look at all the old reports...again. Sigh. We don't have much energy to throw at this right now as our community in the Blue Mtns is battling bushfires. But please read and share your thoughts below...

Friday, 4 October 2013

On the trail of the Black Panther

He’s devoted more than a decade to investigating sightings of the elusive Blue Mountains panther.

Hazelbrook’s Mike Williams and partner Rebecca Lang were pleased to hear that the black cat is back in the news with the state government investigating sightings of the panther.

The Department of Primary Industries is holding an independent inquiry into reports of large free-ranging cats following discussions with Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams (no relation), the parliamentary secretary for Western Sydney. A DPI spokesman said the report would look at past evidence to “assess the likelihood of the presence of large free-ranging cats”.

It’s due at the end of the year and Williams and Lang’s 450 page book Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers is in the mix as a resource for the inquiry.

So do  big cats really roam the bush? Mr Williams and Ms Lang believe something is definitely out there, probably an animal escaped years ago from a private zoo in the Penrith area.

“I think of all the mythological supposed animals, cats can be proven to exist, it’s much more plausible that a large black cat exists or that a smaller cat could be misidentified,” Mr Williams said.

“They’re there, it’s a mystery, but I don’t know what they are.”

The duo will hold their own 3km Blue Mountains Panther Bushwalk — In Search of Big Cats around Knapsack Creek in Glenbrook during the coming Festival of Walking. Walkers will hear about “compelling” local sightings, see casts taken of suspected big cat prints and see photos of the suspected monster moggies.

“We will probably get someone at the end who complains about not seeing a black cat, but it’s a bit of fun and they will learn about local folklore,” Mr Williams, 53, said.

Participants have been asked to wear sturdy shoes and bring water, a hat and “an open mind”. The event is on October 5 from 10.30am and, for insurance reasons, registration through the festival’s website is required before attending.


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