Author Topic: I shot a big cat  (Read 4312 times)

Offline Christine

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I shot a big cat
« on: September 21, 2008, 10:45:09 PM »

October 09, 2005 12:00am

A VICTORIAN hunter believes he may finally have solved the state's big cat mystery.

Kurt Engel shot dead what is believed to be a leopard or a puma in Gippsland.
Mr Engel photographed the dead cat and cut off its tail after shooting it while hunting deer in rugged terrain near Sale in June.

A sample of the cat's DNA, taken from the tail, has been sent to an international laboratory for analysis.

The results, expected in about three weeks, will determine the feline's exact species.

The breakthrough follows decades of sightings of mysterious wild big cats throughout Australia -- but no physical proof of their existence.

Big cat researchers have hailed Mr Engel's kill as the best evidence ever uncovered to confirm the predators roam in the Australian wilderness.

Mr Engel, of Noble Park, said he was hunting in scrub when he noticed large paw prints in a dry creek bed.

Shortly afterwards, he saw a dark creature move, then caught sight of a crouching big cat.

"I could see the eyes of the cat, I kept very quiet," he said.

The predator charged in his direction.

"He came very low to the ground. His chest was nearly on the ground (as the cat moved) and he came straight towards me. I saw his teeth and white eyes -- I was only about 80 yards away," he said.

"I pulled up the rifle and at that moment it turned to the left.

"He was making long jumps. On about the third jump I shot him."

The bullet entered behind the cat's shoulder and blew its head off, he said.

Mr Engel said he found the remains of a freshly killed wombat nearby, which had had its skull crushed.

The 67-year-old said he had not believed big cats existed.

"I think it was a million to one chance -- I have been hunting in forests for 50 years and never seen a big cat," he said.

The retired engineer said he lugged the cat back to his camp, but put the carcass into the river after removing the tail and photographing it.

Mike Williams, a representative of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, a body that researches mysterious or out-of-place animals, said he believed it was concrete evidence that big cats are on the loose in Australia.

Hundreds of sightings have been reported over the years and a leaked government document revealed 59 sightings had been reported in Gippsland between 1998 and 2001.

The cats are said to be descendants of animals that either escaped from zoos or circuses or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II.

"Kurt has killed an urban legend," Mr Williams said.

"He has proved all the hundreds of farmers have been telling the truth.

"There is a breeding population of big cats."

"The tail is 100 per cent -- it is a concrete case."

Mr Engel, who has also told his story to the Australian Shooter magazine, said he did not seek publicity for the find, and only agreed to speak after a fellow hunter put Mr Williams in touch with him.

Scientist Bernie Mace, who has been researching big cats in Australia for 30 years, said the animal was far too big to be a feral domestic cat, and predicted it would be identified as a puma.

"I feel this is a very important breakthrough," he said.

Richard Roswell, Melbourne Zoo's keeper in charge of carnivores, examined a photograph of the dead cat this week, but said it was inconclusive.

"We don't dispute that there is a possibility they (big cats) are out there, but we are yet to see a photograph that proves it categorically," he said.

Mr Roswell said the DNA would ultimately determine the breed of the cat.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline angelite64

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Re: I shot a big cat
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 10:18:18 AM »
Did they publish the findings of the DNA test?
It will be a GOOD DAY when all stand in a circle as one, with no judgment, no one language, no one right way, no one sexual rite, and no one colour - all COLOURS!.......Aho

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Offline catseyes

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Re: I shot a big cat
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 11:01:18 AM »
It  came back as being cat DNA, but common Moggy.  This has confirmed the belief that many have that these puma sized Kittys are actually feral moggies that have mutated to an extremely large size.  This leads to the question of why no tabby's then?  Or are there tabbys but we haven't spotted them yet!

Offline feuer_engel

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Re: I shot a big cat
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 12:36:27 PM »
On our old property in victoria we used to get a feral cat roaming around that was HUGE- we thought it was a large fox or something. Feral cats can get pretty big.


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