Saturday, 18 January 2014

AUSTRALIA SIGHTINGS: The mystery of big cat sightings

T'S the mystery that refuses to die.Documents released by Parks Victoria show the organisation continues to receive alerts of big cat sightings in the Grampians region and elsewhere throughout the state.Intriguing correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveals campers and bushwalkers have reported a variety of contacts with large, feline-like animals."My husband has sighted (and reported) the puma several times over the past 20-plus years, suggesting a territorial pattern of movement," wrote one Grampians visitor last year.And in September another reported seeing a "large cat-like animal" while driving along the Glenelg River Rd. "I have seen large black cats before but never 150cm long. I am just saying what I saw, no more," the camper wrote.But Parks Victoria says there have been no "confirmed" sightings of pumas, panthers or any sort of big cats in the region or elsewhere in the state.Evidence such as photographs, DNA or live/dead capture simply doesn't exist, according to a departmental officer.The FOI requests were instigated by 42-year-old independent amateur big cat researcher Michael Moss.Mr Moss, from the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, said previous FOI requests over the past decade supported big cat sightings in every state of Australia, and that the latest crop of documents only confirmed their existence."I speak to the farming communities," he said."The farming communities are seeing Tasmanian Tigers regularly. Parks Victoria doesn't want to know about it. They just want the whole thing to go away."But some claims in the FOI documents are extraordinarily detailed.In an extensive Grampians sighting, a spotter writes over three pages how his dog chased "the strangest animal with stripes on its back.""The best description I can give is that (the animal) bounded on the combined back legs onto the READ MORE

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