Monday, 28 October 2013
NEW ZEALAND SIGHTINGS: Elusive 'panther' may be on the move
Mid-Canterbury's elusive black panther may have moved south.
Last week a delivery driver spotted what he described as a large cat-like animal feeding on road kill just outside the Fairlie township in the early hours of the morning.
The description was remarkably similar to reports in a number of sightings of the panther-like animal in Mid Canterbury roughly the size of a Labrador dog, with round head and a distinctive long tail.
Such sightings began trickling in 1992 when the animal was spotted at the Ashburton River mouth.
But the legend really took flight this century when Marcus Ewart and David Tutton reported seeing a large, black panther-like cat near Alford Forest; two years later the cat appeared again, this time witnessed by Peter and Toni May in the Ashburton Gorge.
A month later, in October 2003, truck driver Chad Stewart was startled by a huge black cat in the Mayfield foothills. The same month the cat appeared again, this time near the Fairton meat works.
Several sightings were reported in the Seafield and Pendarves areas in January 2004.