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Big cat caught on film in Otways - 10 June 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:12 pm
by Shazzoir ... m/12335606 - Photos here

"A series of photos of a large, sleek black cat sauntering into the bush in south-west Victoria has reignited the long-held belief by some that panthers or pumas roam our wild places undetected. Stories about populations of big, wild cats have been talked about since the 1830s, and the lush Victorian Otways region is just one place across the country where the rumours crop up time after time.

Professional photographer Amber Noseda was driving home from taking pictures of birds at Mount Sabine on Saturday afternoon when she spotted an unusual animal, which she initially thought was a black wallaby. She pulled over and started using her camera's viewfinder to focus on the animal and realised it was a large cat.

"That's the biggest cat I've ever seen," she said. "It was jet black, it had a really long sleek back, it wasn't tall looking at the photos but when it was sitting on the side of the road it certainly looked a lot taller."
That evening she posted the photos on a local social media site and has since attracted attention from across the country, with heated debate about whether or not she snapped a feral cat.

"Obviously I had heard about the legend of the Otway panther but by no means did I think it was a panther," Ms Noseda said. "I'm assuming it was a really large feral cat."

A 2012 Victorian Government study found no evidence of big cats living in the Otways or other regional areas.

Centuries of 'entrenched folklore' drives big cat stories

Federation University historian David Waldron, who has written a book exploring the folklore around big cats, described how the first rumours began appearing in the 1830s.

There was talk of a native marsupial cat, a belief that Chinese miners headed to the goldfields had brought over tigers, and rumours about big cats escaping from circuses.

"We have 200 years of entrenched folklore about the cat in the bush that we draw on and it slides very quickly to the forefront of our consciousness," Dr Waldron said. He said, although there was evidence of big cats having escaped and lived in the bush over the years, there was no evidence of breeding populations, and many sightings were just big feral cats. Dr Waldron said big cat folklore was symbolic of people's uneasy relationship with the environment and it was also driven by anxieties around issues such as stock losses.

"These sightings often take place in border areas between urban areas and bushland and I think a lot of that relates to the unknown nature of the bush," he said. "It makes the bush into a mysterious place with unknown dangers lurking."

It's just a pity there is no way of telling the size of the animal as there is nothing to compare it to that can give us an idea of scale, such as a roadside marker. - Shazz

Re: Big cat caught on film in Otways - 10 June 2020

Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:24 pm
by Shazzoir
An Admin from another FB group 'Strange Creatures of Victoria' has posted this, where they calculated the size of the cat.
"Evening guys

Couple of comparison shots from Friday's sighting/images - yesterday I met up with Amber at the location and used my eskie for size scale.
The cat was sitting on the road edge near the reflector, marked in dirt at about 60cm for head height while sitting.
Once it turned and walked across the road she realised it was a cat and snapped the images that we've all seen, we placed the eskie where cat was photographed and Amber took the same images from the same location as previously.
The cat would be roughly the same size as the eskie as seen in images below, 40cm tall 55cm body length."