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Author Topic: 'Panther' shot in Australia
Gutter Monkey
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Taken from this news report. I'll include the story here in case the link disappears:

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I shot the big cat
EXCLUSIVE by KELVIN HEALEY
09oct05


A VICTORIAN hunter believes he may finally have solved the state's big cat mystery.

Kurt Engel shot dead what is believed to be a leopard or a puma in Gippsland.

Mr Engel photographed the dead cat and cut off its tail after shooting it while hunting deer in rugged terrain near Sale in June.

A sample of the cat's DNA, taken from the tail, has been sent to an international laboratory for analysis.

The results, expected in about three weeks, will determine the feline's exact species.

The breakthrough follows decades of sightings of mysterious wild big cats throughout Australia -- but no physical proof of their existence.

Big cat researchers have hailed Mr Engel's kill as the best evidence ever uncovered to confirm the predators roam in the Australian wilderness.

Mr Engel, of Noble Park, said he was hunting in scrub when he noticed large paw prints in a dry creek bed.

Shortly afterwards, he saw a dark creature move, then caught sight of a crouching big cat.

"I could see the eyes of the cat, I kept very quiet," he said.

The predator charged in his direction.

"He came very low to the ground. His chest was nearly on the ground (as the cat moved) and he came straight towards me. I saw his teeth and white eyes -- I was only about 80 yards away," he said.

"I pulled up the rifle and at that moment it turned to the left.

"He was making long jumps. On about the third jump I shot him."

The bullet entered behind the cat's shoulder and blew its head off, he said.

Mr Engel said he found the remains of a freshly killed wombat nearby, which had had its skull crushed.

The 67-year-old said he had not believed big cats existed.

"I think it was a million to one chance -- I have been hunting in forests for 50 years and never seen a big cat," he said.

The retired engineer said he lugged the cat back to his camp, but put the carcass into the river after removing the tail and photographing it.

Mike Williams, a representative of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, a body that researches mysterious or out-of-place animals, said he believed it was concrete evidence that big cats are on the loose in Australia.

Hundreds of sightings have been reported over the years and a leaked government document revealed 59 sightings had been reported in Gippsland between 1998 and 2001.

The cats are said to be descendants of animals that either escaped from zoos or circuses or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II.

"Kurt has killed an urban legend," Mr Williams said.

"He has proved all the hundreds of farmers have been telling the truth.

"There is a breeding population of big cats."

"The tail is 100 per cent -- it is a concrete case."

Mr Engel, who has also told his story to the Australian Shooter magazine, said he did not seek publicity for the find, and only agreed to speak after a fellow hunter put Mr Williams in touch with him.

Scientist Bernie Mace, who has been researching big cats in Australia for 30 years, said the animal was far too big to be a feral domestic cat, and predicted it would be identified as a puma.

"I feel this is a very important breakthrough," he said.

Richard Roswell, Melbourne Zoo's keeper in charge of carnivores, examined a photograph of the dead cat this week, but said it was inconclusive.

"We don't dispute that there is a possibility they (big cats) are out there, but we are yet to see a photograph that proves it categorically," he said.

Mr Roswell said the DNA would ultimately determine the breed of the cat.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The version of the photo that appeared in the paper was much bigger and clearer, and it was a lot easier to see that the 'panther' was clearly out of focus while the shooter & background were all in sharp focus. AH, we've seen this all before, right?

Today there was a follow-up story:

* * * * * * * * *

Big cat fight begins
Danny Buttler
10oct05


A CAT fight has broken out over the credibility of Victoria's latest "big cat" sighting.

A Noble Park man says he shot and killed a leopard or puma near Sale in June, before cutting off its tail and dumping the carcass in a river.

But Victoria's leading animal expert has sent the fur flying by saying the big cat was just that -- a cat.

Hans Brunner, who tested the cat's hairs on behalf of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, said they were from a domestic or feral cat.

Mr Brunner said the hairs were too long for a puma or panther, which have sleek tails with short fur.

He also questioned why the cat was photographed without a person next to it and why the body was dumped in a river.

"I'm also wondering how he shot its head off if he hit it in the shoulder," Mr Brunner said.

"A head would probably not explode on impact.

"There are a lot of questions."

Kurt Engel, who said he shot the cat with a 7mm bullet, was surprised by Mr Brunner's views but said he was anxious for the truth to come out.

"It must be the biggest cat in the world if that's the case," he said.

"I'm surprised he would say that because everyone who sees it says it must be a black panther or some sort of mixture of big cat. It's got to be sorted out."

Victorian big cat researcher Michael Moss said he seriously doubted that the cat was the real deal.

A DSE spokeswoman said it seemed to be yet another case of big cat claims not being properly supported by evidence.

"The department can't respond until we get the evidence," she said.

Mike Williams from the Centre for Fortean Zoology said DNA from the tail had been sent to India for identification.

He said he expected the Indian scientists to confirm the DNA belonged to a big cat.

Panther and puma sightings have been reported in Victoria since World War II.

Many people believe the big cats escaped from circuses or were brought to Australia as mascots by American soldiers.

Stock losses are often blamed on big cats.

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The online version of the article has the same photo as the one above. The print version, however, had a different photo: a snap of the critter hung by its back legs in someone's garage. I thought the shooter cut its tail off and then threw the rest into a river????
Hmmmm.

Posts: 14 | From: Melbourne, Australia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Floater
Xboxing Day


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cat-a-chow

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Små hönor skall inte lägga stora ägg för då blir de slarviga i ändan

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Archangel
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Pumachow!
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