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Monday, July 3, 2017

Big Cat Camera Traps and Black Panthers - Australia

There have been some more ABC reports in Australia, and that has led one researcher to place some camera traps in an area with sightings to try to capture evidence of their passing…

The Warwick Daily News reports:

"Fur on a fence and dried up prints were the only clues left behind when Curra residents recently spotted a creature resembling a mountain lion on their property.
"But big cat chaser and founder of the Australian Big Cat Research Group Vaughan King is looking for harder evidence.
"Mr King said the owners reported watching a big cat-like animal in their torchlight for about 15 minutes when it walked through their paddock.
"'Although (mountain lions are) uncommon here in Queensland, it does match up to similar reports of tawny colored animals being seen in scattered areas across the state,' Mr King said.
"Mr King, a former Australia Zoo big cat handler who runs the research group out of the Sunshine Coast, travelled to Curra to look for evidence of the cat.
"'Although some prints were found, they had been baked dry by the morning sun and thus rendered inconclusive,' he said.
"'Some fur was found in the fence which did to look like macropod or stock, so that will most likely be sent away for DNA testing.'
"Mr King set up multiple camera traps on the property with baits and lures to encourage the animal back.
"'Big cats are naturally wary animals and can often be spooked by new or introduced scents into the area, so unfortunately the baiting may also have a negative effect on the results of the camera trap survey.'
"While Mr King waits for results, the reportings of big cats in the Gympie region have been increasing; cementing his idea that Gympie is a Queensland hotspot for big cat activity.
"Mr King said rural property owners are the best witnesses of big cat encounters with reports from Glenwood and Mooloo in the past two months coming in.
"He said the hours that property owners are out in the field - between dusk and dawn - was the prime time of day that big cats are active.
"'Property owners with livestock and pets will also be the first to notice any changes in their animals' behavior.
"'Animals such as dogs, horses, sheep and cattle are some of the best of what I like to refer to as 'animal indicators' in this sort of scenario.
"'Horses in particular are very alert and aware of their surroundings, and their body language is very easy to read.
"'If people see the animals on their properties acting in an abnormal or strange way, this could be an indication of something threatening being nearby and quite possibly a precursor to a potential cat sighting on their property.'
"He encouraged anyone who had sighted a big cat to report it on" 
Vaughan King
(Warwick Daily News)

***On the subject of big cats and horses, a horse in Australia was recently attacked by (most likely) a big cat.
And, also on the subject of big cat sightings in Australia…

The Australian Cryptozoology Research Organization (ACRO) recently received a black panther report which Jack Tessier posted on their blog. Some people driving on a track, with three cars behind them, saw a black panther on the left side of the track. The witness said the "panther was jet black and unmistakeable, it was somewhere between 5-6 foot long and at least 3-4 foot high with a long tail." The sighting took place on June 26. More details can be seen on the ACRO blog.

As always, if there's more reports of big cats, I'll update things...

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