Saturday, 28 December 2013

AUSTRALIA SIGHTINGS: Baillieu govt sinks claws into big cat mystery

Decades of shadowy sightings, grisly livestock kills and mysterious paw prints are being scrutinised as scientists sink their claws into verifying the existence of Victorian big cats.
But rather than scouring bushland for the fearsome beasts armed with traps and nets, they'll be working from the safety of state government offices.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh says Department of Primary Industries and Department of Sustainability and Environment officers will spend months reviewing sightings, photos, reports and other evidence submitted over the years to determine whether the elusive creatures exist.
"We're not going out in pith hats beating the bushes," Mr Walsh said. "This is about actually doing the analytical work on all the information that's there."

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan pledged before the 2010 election a coalition government would investigate big cat sightings, saying there were "enough credible observations" to justify a report.
Mr Walsh can't say how much the exercise will cost taxpayers or how many staff it will involve but says it won't take any extra cash from the state's kitty and is being funded "within existing resources"READ MORE

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