Universal => Big Cats in Australia => Victoria => Topic started by: catseyes on July 25, 2008, 06:06:38 PM

Title: Expert confirms big cat reports
Post by: catseyes on July 25, 2008, 06:06:38 PM
Expert confirms big cat reports

July 24, 2008, 1.01pm

Big cats have been eluding farmers and their traps, shotguns and cameras for many years.

But their sightings are being recorded by naturalists Simon Townsend and John Turner, assisted by Tantanoola-born Joanna Seidel.

Mr Townsend said there had been numerous sightings throughout areas around Penola and south to Port MacDonnell, stretching into Victoria.

A naturalist and big cat researcher from Ballarat, Mr Townsend said sightings around the South East and Western Victoria had been recorded for more than 100 years.

He said the reports generally consisted of large unidentified cat-like creatures the size of mountain lions or leopards.

"Commonly referred to locally as panthers, these animals have been most regularly reported from the ranges of Western Victoria and South Eastern South Australia, he said.

"Most sightings have occurred at dawn, dusk or after dark when other wildlife is particularly active foraging and moving about.

"Sometimes they are seen eating road killed kangaroos or fresh sheep carcases in the paddocks.

"Observers have included visitors to the region who were bushwalking or motoring through the bush, and farmland or bushworkers and farmers going about their daily business."

Mr Townsend said reports included two distinct colour types, but they were invariably described as being "like a big cat".

"The two reported colours are tan or black - could it be that there are two types of undescribed big cat in the bush?" he said.

Mr Townsend said the big cats grabbed hold of their animal victims and ate through the diaphragm first, taking out the heart, liver and lungs.

"The next night they will come back and eat the legs and the rest of the animal," he said.

He said they also dragged an animal from a cleared area to a patch of thicker grass or roughage, leaving behind a trail of blood.
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