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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Mystery black panther is sighted in Goulburn

By T.K. Randall
October 5, 2014 · Comment icon 42 comments

Is a panther on the loose in Australia's wilds ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Rute Martins
Reports and rumors about a legendary beast prowling the Australian bush have persisted for years.
Goulburn residents Jeff and Ruth Gulson had been eating lunch when they spotted a huge cat-like creature in their garden through the kitchen window. As they watched it through binoculars they realized that the animal looked very much like a black panther.

"Let's be clear, this was certainly no dog," said Mr Gulson. "It was cat-like in its movement but it was a bigger than a sheep. We had the binoculars out. We watched it move."

The sighting is just one in a long line of similar reports spanning several decades in the rural regions around Sydney and its surrounding national parks. So frequent and convincing is the evidence in fact that even the local government has accepted the creature as a legitimate concern.
"Difficult as it seems to accept, the most likely explanation of the evidence is the presence of a large, feline predator," said wildlife ecologist Johannes Bauer who was commissioned back in 1999 to investigate the phenomenon. "In this area, [it is] most likely a leopard, less likely a jaguar."

Fortunately in this most recent case the Gulson's were able to record photographic evidence of the creature that they had encountered in their garden before it disappeared.

The picture they took can be found - here.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comments (42)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #33 Posted by ChrLzs 10 years ago
I have tracked down the folks who took the photo, I believe. As they do not appear to have a web-presence I am sending them a snail-mail, asking if they would consider assisting in some 'photogrammetry', ie the use of images to take measurements... The sort of thing I am asking them is this: - would you be prepared to take a similar shot from the same spot, same camera, same settings, with an object of known size placed exactly where the cat was? (I'll give some examples of how to do this, and what to use, and I'll also explain how he can make sure his camera focuses properly this time) - if n... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by Codenwarra 10 years ago
Oh no ! he got me ... ermmm yeah ... I was pulling you leg ... Of course ! Couldn't you tell ? But anyway ... thanks for all the info You don't say. Maybe I was pulling yours as well
Comment icon #35 Posted by QuiteContrary 10 years ago
"Had we sneaked up a bit closer, there was every chance we could even have got as close as 50 metres." Proof of absolutely nothing, just an odd comment, imo. It's hard to decipher from his statement whether he wishes they had and that they would have, but unfortunately didn't. Or he's just relaying what they could've done but didn't want to. If the former, then if they actually thought it was a Big Cat would they have wanted to get closer- to 50 meters? And I wonder how hard it is to sneak up on a Big Cat? He seemed confident they could do so. Wonder why? Just a couple comments that struck me ... [More]
Comment icon #36 Posted by MidnightLady 10 years ago
He looks a little like my Catzilla. Also a bit bored and I gather annoyed.
Comment icon #37 Posted by Dragonwind 10 years ago
not like dogs , which have been bred to an incredible variety ( I think, like no other species has ? ) . How come dogs can do that and cats cant - or maybe; how come we can do that breeding with dogs but not cats ? I read part of it has to do with the dogs bone structure dynamics during pregnancy. Their bones are supposedly more elastic and can change more easily, thus you get tiny dogs and very large dogs bred. There are other factors of course but that is what makes it easier to breed dogs into more variety of sizes at least. Its a shame actually...it would be cool to have a cat thats perman... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by Dragonwind 10 years ago
Im from australia and looking at that picture and knowing the terrain, grass and shrub types of the southern highlands (Goulburn) I have to say its an impressive shot. Ive personally seen some monster feral cats but in that photo it does look huge and robust. The only thing is while its body is stocky and its tail is very long and droopy like a Panther it still doesnt look thick enough around the neck and paws. Panthers have quick thick stocky paws and neck muscles. The photo shows a very huge cat for sure but its proportions are still basically a scaled domestic cat. They zoomed in but unfort... [More]
Comment icon #39 Posted by Alladar 10 years ago
A friend just reported seeing a large black pantha near her horse paddock in west woombye, Queensland. 18/10/14. She could see it was taller than her dogs, Collies. She described it as black and large with rounded ears.
Comment icon #40 Posted by ChrLzs 10 years ago
Umm... in that photo it does look huge and robust. was followed by: .. its proportions are still basically a scaled domestic cat. There seems to be a major contradiction there. Given we have no, I repeat no, information about the magnification/distance involved, how on earth did you come to that first conclusion, namely that it looks huge/robust? Do you have some special knowledge of the plants shown? - if so please share in detail please, Dragonwind.
Comment icon #41 Posted by zrina11 10 years ago
I don't know if that's a big cat but I have seen one crossing the road about 50 m in front of my car and only couple of metres in front of the car coming from the opposite direction. This was in the middle of the day and even though it happened really quickly, I know what I saw was a big black cat about the same size as a Labrador . I pulled over in a hurry and the lady driving in a opposite direction did a u turn and parked behind me. We both stood there shocked at what we both just saw. We couldn't find any prints as there was only about foot of gravel between the road and tall grass and the... [More]
Comment icon #42 Posted by spud the mackem 10 years ago
Now, thats a feral cat .... they scavage in the wild ... Now if 'tiddles' can get this big at home - imagine what a hard working 5 generation feral well fed cat is gonna look like. ... and if he happens to be black ... I have run into one ... they aint pleasant ! ... and no ... dont try to pat him! (There is also that old story about the soldiers that had a panther as their mascot and it escaped into the bush ... could be BS ... dont know ) ??? ) Cooking Pot

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