My Take On Big Cats In Aus

hunting 20091226 DSC 0056 My Take On Big Cats In Aus
Look Out For The Big Cats... In My Office.

The great myth of the Australian Big Cat is a great yarn – To me, that’s all it is A yarn. Despite the paw print castings, photographical & video “evidence”. NSW Department of Primary Industries has looked at the evidence and concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to support the big exotic cat theory.

Considering that sightings have been reported in NSW, VIC, QLD & WA the population of these so-called big cats must be huge or lots of big cats have escaped from zoo’s or been released into the bush all over the country.

Lets take a look at what would be needed for a country wide population. You would need to have thousands if not hundreds of thousands of big cats to spread all over the country, If this is the case why are there hardly any sightings in SA but in Vic, NSW and WA there are man sightings all over those states? It makes no sense. How much genetic diversity would there have to be to have such a huge spread? I think we have to look at how many animals have been released in areas close enough to each other that they could breed. This is no mean feat, even if you have 2 or 4 pairs of big cat were released in one area it would take years to get an established and sustainable population going thats not to mention defects through breeding and normal survival rates.Perhaps there have been released and escaped big cats in Aus before and there have probably been a big cat or two who has comfortably lived out its life and died as its the only one in its area and has never bred. I can buy that, I can’t buy that there is a breeding population in this country however.

The other way they could be all over the country is if there have been several escapes or releases in different regions all over the country. If this is the case why are the majority of the sightings black big cats? Is it a co-ordinated attempt at introducing big cats in Australia by releasing the same species? It surely cannot be coincidence that the vast majority of sightings are of black big cats? Can it?

Either way it would seem that if there are big cats out there that there is a huge distribution of them throughout the country and yet the best evidence we can get is video and photos of large feral black cats? The sightings are unreliable also. The time of day you are most likely to see a wild animal and specifically a cat is going to be dawn, dusk and night time which are all times of low-light and that presents a problem.. You cannot see well in low light. You could have seen a pig, a swamp wallaby, a wild dog or even a feral goat.

The so-called evidence of those determined to find the big cat has all the same hallmarks of the evidence of Big Foot, Chupacabra, aliens and ghosts. What is next are we going to see images of big cats on our burnt pieces of toast?

The other thing that has me severely doubting the existence of big cats in Aus is the fact that we have thousands of hunters that go out there with centrefire rifles every weekend after foxes, pigs, deer and any other feral you can think of and the closest we have gotten to shooting one is a bloke who shot a larger feral (as proven by DNA) and through the body in the river after some poor photography that gave no reliable frame of reference to its size? What about fox callers or people who go spotlighting? If there are so many sightings out there surely someone with a rifle has seen one and shot it? Why hasn’t this happened? Because the fact is that big cats in Australia do not exist.

Bring me a carcass of a big cat that has been shot or hit by a car or died of poisoning or anything and have that DNA examined so that it is conclusive that it is not a feral cat and I’ll gladly say there is a big cat in Aus. I do not have an agenda or a point to prove by there being or not being a population of big cats in Aus but lets look at the science and evidence and agree that it is highly unlikely that there is a big cat in Aus.  So please go out there and shoot a Big cat you’ll make millions and prove that there are big cats. I’ll be here and I won’t be holding my breathe.

I’ve put a poll up so don’t forget to vote in that.

Here are some good links on the subject:

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pests-weeds/vertebrate-pests/other/reports-large-black-cats-nsw

http://www.australianbigcats.com/

38 thoughts on “My Take On Big Cats In Aus”

  1. there are definetly Cougars in australia thats a fact and some species are black in appearance, other species have escaped from animal parks like the one in victoria,, the trouble why people only see them by accident is because the cougars can smell a human from up to 1 to 2km away thats why it took 200 years to prove they existed in north America, the only way to catch one and to my surprise this hasnt been done in australia, dont waste your time sending hunters they will never find them, you need a group of blood hounds that smell a scent from a cougar possibly some fur from a zoo then when they sniff the animals cent they will know what to hunt and they will track the creature down and corner it even if it takes the dogs days, there are many people that have seen them including police fireman rangers councils politicians doctors and farmers, the fact that more and more reports from these people are increasing explains the cat colonies are obviously getting bigger, I have a friend who saw a cougar on her property with 3 cubs following the mother just on dusk, and she knew it was a cougar for it was tan in colour and way to big for a ferral cat, also kittens dont follow there mother around she carries them, cubs will follow there mother and usually 3 to 5 cubs at a time, also a fishing trip in the outskirts of bathurst nsw a full group of people at once saw a cougar hunting emus and again it was a tan colour, they didnt report because like yourself, they felt people wouldnt believe them, its obvious they are there because hunters back over a century ago have been photographed killing them.

  2. Wow Tim,
    Another person who is convinced they are here in Australia but does not provide one shred of proof, just more unreliable anecdotes, assumption & a lack of critical thinking.

    Your comment saying that it took the Americans 200 years to prove they existed is false. Native Americans knew of their presence for thousands of years. They were first recorded for science in the early 1800’s (over 200 years ago). Nowhere could I find EVIDENCE supporting your claims that they was any doubt about cougars in Nth America

    I’m sorry Tim, but you shouldn’t expect people to believe your blind faith as fact.

  3. Yeah I agree with Tim’s Comment, by the time the goverment decide to investigate properly and discover they exist there will be a thriving population of these big cats throughout Australia, and they will never be able to catch them all because there just to damn smart, I know an Raf man back in the 1960.s who had a black leopard imported from Asia as a Mascott, but the Goverment ordered them to be destroyed, he said none were willing to kill it and he and others drove the leopard out to the country in a truck and let it go, also they were Aussies not Americans, the cougars were used earlier last century to guard the goldminers mines in the outback, thats how they got in, many obviously escaped, thats why repotings are made more frequantly because they obviously have been breeding.

  4. Like with Tim mate, Plenty of anecdotes and no real hard evidence. Show me real evidence and I’ll apologise to you all personally but until such time I have to call BS.

  5. >NSW Department of Primary Industries has looked at the evidence and >concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to support the big exotic >cat theory.

    1/The dpi in nsw accept no evidence, so, how could there be evidence.?
    2/The conclusion you are talking about was the 2009 report where they rewrote the 2008 report and deleted all pro references to bigcats
    The first “study” in 1999 by the nsw govt concluded large cats.
    They forgot to release it.
    An foi forced it out.
    The second study by the nsw govt in 2003 said large cats.
    The 2008 said large cats.
    So..thats 3 reports that say yes..and 1 that says no. :)

    >You would need to have thousands if not hundreds of thousands of big cats >to spread all over the country,

    Based on what biological evidence are you claiming this.??

    >I think we have to look at how many animals have been released in areas >close enough to each other that they could breed.
    >This is no mean feat, even if you have 2 or 4 pairs of big cat were >released in one area it would take years to get an established and >sustainable population going thats not to mention defects through breeding >and normal survival rates.

    A quick example… where there thousands of foxes originally released into Australia.No.So for a start your guessing falls apart with a fox example.

    >The other way they could be all over the country is if there have been >several escapes or releases in different regions all over the country.

    Bingo.!!

    >if this is the case why are the majority of the sightings black big cats?

    Because the witnesses are seeing melanistic cats and not brown cats most of the time.

    >It surely cannot be coincidence that the vast majority of sightings are of >black big cats? Can it?

    No

    >Either way it would seem that if there are big cats out there that there >is a huge distribution of them throughout the country and yet the best >evidence we can get is video and photos of large feral black cats?

    Are you a zoologist.?
    One quick example…gary blount footage..Mike Archer the zoologist said if he had seen that footage in a doco on leopards it would not have looked out of place.

    >The sightings are unreliable also.

    Because you say so.?

    >The time of day you are most likely to see a wild animal and specifically >a cat is going to be dawn, dusk and night time which are all times of >low-light and that presents a problem.. You cannot see well in low light.

    Okay , we will throw out all the poor light claims and stick with daylight/decent light.

    >The so-called evidence

    It would be best if you wrote about something you have looked into instead of just shooting from the hip.
    A foot shot always happens. :)
    One quick example..the lioness that was seen eating sheep beside the road in good light near broken hill in the bush..it was shot dead by police.
    But..lets not consider primary evidence to be evidence.. :)

    >What is next are we going to see images of big cats on our burnt pieces of >toast?

    see lioness above..examine hole in foot. :)

    >some poor photography that gave no reliable frame of reference to its size?

    But the photo released later did show reference and scale.
    How many holes is there in that foot now. ? :)

    >What about fox callers or people who go spotlighting? If there are so many >sightings out there surely someone with a rifle has seen one and shot it? >Why hasn’t this happened? Because the fact is that big cats in Australia >do not exist.

    see broken hill lioness…it looks like you have used a machine gun on your feet now. :)

    >Bring me a carcass of a big cat that has been shot or hit by a car or died >of poisoning or anything and have that DNA examined so that it is >conclusive that it is not a feral cat and I’ll gladly say there is a big >cat in Aus.

    Seriously..I doubt you would do that. :)
    See broken hill lioness..

    >I do not have an agenda or a point to prove by there being or not being a >population of big cats in Aus

    Huh..then who wrote the above..your agenda was to write about something you know nothing about..

    >but lets look at the science and evidence

    Great..when are you going to.?And “lets” means yourself does it.

    >I’ll be here and I won’t be holding my breathe.

    Its been done already..you can let your breath out now.

  6. “>NSW Department of Primary Industries has looked at the evidence and >concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to support the big exotic >cat theory.
    1/The dpi in nsw accept no evidence, so, how could there be evidence.?
    2/The conclusion you are talking about was the 2009 report where they rewrote the 2008 report and deleted all pro references to bigcats
    The first “study” in 1999 by the nsw govt concluded large cats.
    They forgot to release it.
    An foi forced it out.
    The second study by the nsw govt in 2003 said large cats.
    The 2008 said large cats.
    So..thats 3 reports that say yes..and 1 that says no. ”
    So you are screaming conspiracy theory right off the bat. Good one. What reason would there be to conceal the existence of big cats?
    The reason why the whole conspiracy theory thing is a joke is this. In Tasmania there is a Govt organisation called the Fox Task Force. They are there to prove whether or not foxes exist in Tas. So far they have found carcasses, scat and other evidence. Why would they try so hard to see whether or not foxes are in Tas but disregard any big cat evidence? Is it because they have looked at the evidence presented to them and found that it’s unlikely there is a population of big cats living in NSW or Aus?
    “>You would need to have thousands if not hundreds of thousands of big cats >to spread all over the country,
    Based on what biological evidence are you claiming this.??”
    None, based on common sense. Big cats the world over are all in danger of becoming threatened or extinct but yet they are flourishing here and the all come from just a handful of cats that have spread throughout the entire country? I think not.
    You also have to remember that this is editorial I’m not reporting a story here I am giving my opinion…
    “>I think we have to look at how many animals have been released in areas >close enough to each other that they could breed.
    >This is no mean feat, even if you have 2 or 4 pairs of big cat were >released in one area it would take years to get an established and >sustainable population going thats not to mention defects through breeding >and normal survival rates.
    A quick example… where there thousands of foxes originally released into Australia.No.So for a start your guessing falls apart with a fox example.”
    And yet we see foxes and shoot foxes all the time in Australia there is ample proof of foxes flourishing in Australia but we have not once had a carcass or bone from a big cat or even one shot that has been living in Australia. We have hunters and shooters out there walking and driving millions of acres a week and yet we don’t have one instance of a hunter killing one of these big cats yet thousands of hunters go right into their supposed habitat every week. So I don’t see how my “guessing” falls apart.
    “>The other way they could be all over the country is if there have been >several escapes or releases in different regions all over the country.
    Bingo.!!”
    It would be “bingo” aside from the small fact is there would have to be dozens or hundreds of releases which would have to be documented. I don’t imagine you can just go to the local pet shop and buy a big cat. You have to import them and get all sorts of licenses to own one so it’s not as if they are commonly owned animals in Aus.
    “>if this is the case why are the majority of the sightings black big cats?
    Because the witnesses are seeing melanistic cats and not brown cats most of the time.
    >It surely cannot be coincidence that the vast majority of sightings are of >black big cats? Can it?
    No”
    Right, but Melanism isn’t completely dominant. So even if two melanistic cats bred they would produces black and spotted offspring in jaguars, though in leopards there are more chance of a melanistic leopard than a jaguar you still have to question why no “spotty” leopards are being sighted out there. As far as I am aware two black leopards doesn’t equal all black cubs.
    “>Either way it would seem that if there are big cats out there that there >is a huge distribution of them throughout the country and yet the best >evidence we can get is video and photos of large feral black cats?
    Are you a zoologist.?
    One quick example…gary blount footage..Mike Archer the zoologist said if he had seen that footage in a doco on leopards it would not have looked out of place.”
    No, are you? Also this so called evidence you are putting forward about one zoologist confirming it is called anecdotal evidence he doesn’t even confirm that it is a leopard in your quote he says it would not have looked out of place. Please provide a link to the footage.
    The other thing you could do if you so firmly believed in the existence of feral big cats in Australia and I assume you do as from my reckoning you are from australianbigcats.com.au. Why don’t you take this to a uni and get them to do a peer-reviewed paper on the subject? If it’s a peer-reviewed and proper scientific paper people will find it a lot harder to refute their existence.
    “>The sightings are unreliable also.
    Because you say so.?”
    Because all sightings are unreliable. You look at witness recounts in crimes and they are often vastly different to the actual details. It is proven and well known that humans aren’t the greatest observers and details are often misses of exaggerated.
    “>The time of day you are most likely to see a wild animal and specifically >a cat is going to be dawn, dusk and night time which are all times of >low-light and that presents a problem.. You cannot see well in low light.
    Okay , we will throw out all the poor light claims and stick with daylight/decent light.
    >The so-called evidence
    It would be best if you wrote about something you have looked into instead of just shooting from the hip.
    A foot shot always happens.
    One quick example..the lioness that was seen eating sheep beside the road in good light near broken hill in the bush..it was shot dead by police.
    But..lets not consider primary evidence to be evidence..
    >What is next are we going to see images of big cats on our burnt pieces of >toast?”
    Of course I’ve looked into it and concluded that the big cat conspiracy theorists are like any other conspiracy theorist out there. Short on evidence big on proving an ideal. They are unscientific about it and don’t look at all the facts. I have no horse in the race if big cats are proven to exist or they are not, nothing about my life changes. I examined the evidence and looked at it objectively and concluded that it is likely there are no big cats in Aus. That said like disproving UFO’s and Ghosts. It’s impossible to disprove something and only possible to come to a conclusion based on lack of evidence.
    The scientific process has no agenda nor does it want to prove or disprove anything it just wants to find the truth. So far, from what I can tell science has not proved the existence or a population of big cats in Aus.
    In regards to your lioness, a quick look around the internet and its not documented anywhere except where a guy named Mike tells the story.
    “see lioness above..examine hole in foot.
    >some poor photography that gave no reliable frame of reference to its size?
    But the photo released later did show reference and scale.
    How many holes is there in that foot now. ? ”
    Really where? Did it prove that the photo was taken in Australia? Did you have a real expert look at it? Seriously 1 photo is not enough proof.
    “>What about fox callers or people who go spotlighting? If there are so many >sightings out there surely someone with a rifle has seen one and shot it? >Why hasn’t this happened? Because the fact is that big cats in Australia >do not exist.
    see broken hill lioness…it looks like you have used a machine gun on your feet now. ”
    You provide one example of a big cat that was shot. You have no proof, there is no real reference to it and it is of a species that is never really sighted. Most sightings are of “big black cats” so once again you “believers” give some anecdotal evidence that has no proof and is not even relevant to the fact that the majority of sightings are big black cats. What you are saying is there is an entire ecosystem of many species of big cat. That is a joke and once again nobody can prove it.
    “>Bring me a carcass of a big cat that has been shot or hit by a car or died >of poisoning or anything and have that DNA examined so that it is >conclusive that it is not a feral cat and I’ll gladly say there is a big >cat in Aus.
    Seriously..I doubt you would do that.
    See broken hill lioness..”
    Really clinging on to the story of the Broken Hill Lioness aye? Once again majority of the sightings are of big black cats and not lions. It could have broken out of a circus. Besides that they live in a pride and would be easy spotted unlike a solitary leopard.
    Bring me a carcass and if it is conclusive I will gladly say I was wrong. Then I will be one of the first out there to get my trophy.
    “>I do not have an agenda or a point to prove by there being or not being a >population of big cats in Aus
    Huh..then who wrote the above..your agenda was to write about something you know nothing about..”
    I wrote it, my agenda was to get my own view out on my own blog. Whats so hard to believe about that? I don’t believe there is enough evidence to prove that there are ghosts, ufo’s visiting earth or big foot what agenda is that?
    Your agenda isn’t for the truth, it is to fool everyone into thinking there are big cats in Aus.
    Another thing… Leopards attack people in places like india all the time why have there been no attacks on humans in Aus when they are sighted so close to civilisation (Appin, Greendale etc)
    “>but lets look at the science and evidence
    Great..when are you going to.?And “lets” means yourself does it.”
    Oh I do look at the science and evidence and there is not enough of both to prove the existence of big cats.
    “>I’ll be here and I won’t be holding my breathe.
    Its been done already..you can let your breath out now.”
    I wasn’t holding my breathe, I’m still not holding my breath.
    On a parting note, if you are so sure of big cats in existence why not pay a overseas hunter with trained dogs to come and catch you one? After all it wouldn’t cost all that much to fly them out here and quarantine the dogs. If you are so sure they are out there surely the team could get one.. Oh you won’t do that because you aren’t that sure and are scared of once again having no real proof.
    Good Day.

  7. Ive sconned over the comments and your way to critical Kieth your calling so many people that see these cats crazy, have you tried standing still long enough to film one, or have you gone and tried to find one and have had no luck like many others? I agree the evidence on films so far is not very convincing but that doesnt mean there not out because people seem to keep seeing them, unless there all Drunk. Rather than make an issue better not to worry about it and focus on more better things in life. Besides if they are out there I certainly dont want to be in the bush with them and i’m not interested in finding out.

  8. Hi Jane how are you?
    If we don’t think critically or skeptically we are going to fall for anything.
    People see ghosts, ufos and yowies i have doubts with all of them.
    For instance there was a hippotomus shot in the NT last year.
    One feral hippo out there and itngets shot, but we can’t shoot, film or find a big cats dead body even though they are allegedly from qld to WA?
    We have to question these things rather than have faith or take someones word for it. We need to apply logic and science to these things so we know what is real and what is extremely unlikely.
    When there is true evidence for their existence I will be a believer until then I have to say the lack of evidence for their existence speaks so very loudly.

  9. Keith, i absolutely agree. At this time, there are perhaps more people in the bush than ever before, most will have digital cameras, if not they will have the camera in their phones. And yet NOBODY has come forward with a decent photo that shows anything more than a large feral cat and nobody has produced a carcass. Until someone comes up with the goods I will remain unconvinced.

  10. Hi Keith,

    While I applaud your critical approach, I don’t think you’re offering up much of a counter argument – and you’re displaying all of the usual hostility/aggro many skeptics throw at this who feel that by seeing one of these animals and talking about it is somehow representative of a lapse in critical thinking. God forbid you ever seeing anything as odd – sounds like your world would collapse!

    A large number of farmers and outdoorsmen (shooters, fishermen, hikers etc) have reported seeing these animals. True they’re not all adept at identifying unfamiliar/strange animals, but you’d think the farmers and shooters (men like yourself and myself) might have the edge in telling the difference between dogs, foxes, small cats and whopping great big ones.

    Re: Paying for an American hunter and a pack of dogs to come to Australia- seriously? And saying someone’s ‘scared’ because they won’t fund such an option is just juvenile. So is calling them a conspiracy theorist. Sorry mate, but it is.

    We’d all like to be able to put our money where our mouth is but that’s a slightly irrational response. Perhaps better to suggest a state government engage overseas expertise, as they did in NSW when the Dept. Ag hired Dr Johannes Bauer to look into sightings on the edge of Sydney. He was in the affirmative when it came to the existence of big cats in the area. He’s a scientist. He’s had experience around the world surveying big cats of all kinds.

    And remember, just because something isn’t on the internet doesn’t mean it didn’t happen! That’s a Gen Y 10-minute attention span world view. Before the internet we still had newspapers and books, and the media of the day did document that Broken Hill lion sighting/shooting. I’ve seen a photocopy of the clipping from a friend who piqued my interested in the whole thing.

    Open debate is a great thing, but don’t shut it down because no one has the definitive proof/answers – not even the skeptics. It’s called a mystery for a reason.

    Geoff

  11. I’vde got no idea, but the “evidence” seems pretty tenuous to me. Even more so when one finds statements like the following recited like some form of gospel by believer after believer:

    “… thats why it took 200 years to prove they existed in north America”

    The most minimal hunt to check the credibility of that statement will inform you that the spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca spotted cougar in Florida in 1528, and that “…as early as the 1500s, Jesuit priests in southern California were offering natives one bull for every cougar killed. In 1684, Connecticut offered a bounty of twenty shillings apiece for the killing of catamounts, the local name for the cougar. Massachusetts was paying bounties on cougars in 1742.”

    Linnaes (who developed the taxonomic system science uses to identify species) personally allocated the name Felix (later changed to Puma)concolor in 1771. I guess that’s relatively cclose to 200 years after the (failed)settlement by Sir Walter Raleigh of eastern north America in 1584….

  12. Oh, and re the Broken Hill lion? An additional hour or two searching online newpapers through the National Library site brings up this from the Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 29 January 1902 p 7:

    “ESCAPE OF A LION AT BROKEN HILL.

    AN EXCITING INCIDENT.

    BROKEN HILL, Tuesday.

    Fitzgerald Brothers’ Circus, after an absence of four years, opened last night for a short season to a crowded and appreciative audience. About the close of the matinee this afternoon the public was treated to a sensation by the escape of a big performing lion just after taking his turn with the elephant. Whilst returning to the cage after the act the lion found an opening beneath the cage, and slipped under. There being a clear outway, he got into the tent which accommodates the animals. One of the performing goats tethered oiutside the tent attracted his attention. He seized it in his jaws, gave a couple of shakes, and left it for dead. He also knocked over a small acetylene gasometer without causing an explosion, and then bounded to an embankment about 100 yards away running parallel with the Proprietary offices. Here a big drain waa excavated with stuff on cither side piled 7ft or 8ft high, and on this embankment he perched himself quietly sur- veying the dense crowd which quickly collected from all quarters though at the same time keeping a respectful distance from the animal. The circus attendants, with the keeper, Herr Zaff, promptly followed the beast with a cage, and for quite half an hour every means and cajolement were exercised to induce the beast into the cage. Clods, with which he was pelted, occasionally got home and were resented by the lion growling and lashing his tail, and more than once he bounded to the embankment on the other side of the trench. Once, apparently annoyed by a whip, he made an angry demonstration against his keeper, who quickly dodged aside. The efforts of the attendants, probably helped by some raw meat thrown into the cage, were at last successful, and the animal was secured. The crowd, which occupied all points of vantage, including two tailings dumps 60ft high, gave a ringing cheer when the lion was re-caged. Sub-Inspector Travers was quickly on the scene with a rifle, but the keeper, Herr Zaff, and Mr Fitzgcrald begged that a chance be given to recapture the animal. The latter said that if it was destroyed it would mean a pecuniary loss to the firm of £2000 to £3000.

    One of the employees of the Proprietary mine named Stephens, returning from work, encountered the lion, and in his endeavour to escape a gasoline tank, weighing 5cwt, knocked over by the lion, fell on his foot, severely bruising it.”

    Highly entertaining, but one would need to be very very committed to interpret this as justification for breeding colonies(?)of big cats in the Australian bush.

  13. Hi Sceptic,

    The news item you quote is the wrong one – the incident took place in 1985 (not 1902) – but thanks for posting the item. Entertaining, as you say.

    The 1985 incident isn’t proof of anything other than it demonstrates it is possible there are large cats running around in the bush – whether they have been purposefully released, bred up or originate from somewhere else I don’t know.

    The truth remains, for now, a mystery.

    Geoff

  14. Thanks Geoff

    Yeah, the Trove site has only digitised papers up to around the mid-1950s. I came across this while off from work ill, so haven’t put a whole lot of effort into tracking down the documentation.

    It’s frustrating that most of the assertations one comes across oon this issue are unverifiable. I’ve had enough experience of dodgy interpretations:
    #1. The guy beside me (a local farmer) saw a panther, I saw a swamp wallaby (as you’re probably aware they travel fast and flat, head to tail a straight line, not what one expects of a “hopping kangaroo”)
    #2 The guy beside me (the lighthouse keeper) saw a UFO, I saw the planet venus.

    So I’m sceptical of unsubstantiated anecdotes.

    I can’t find anything on the net about the Broken Hill lion (apart from the 1902 article)except for references on cryptozoology sites – i.e. anecdotal. The current Broken Hill daily paper only started in 2000 or thereabouts.

    If I ever get time outside of work I’ll chase up Broken Hill cops (please, don’t bore me with conspiracy theory suggestions that the cops wouldn’t tell me…)or the Broken Hill Library (op cit.) but if you’ve got anything other documentation I’d be interested to see it

    By the way, the history of cougar etc knowledge in the USA came from the website for the Mountain Lion Foundation:

    http://www.mountainlion.org/CAL_ch5.asp

    Cougar: The American Lion, written by Kevin Hansen in association with the Mountain Lion Foundation.

  15. Keith, as most sceptics you are much to defensive and critical. True sceptics are open to being proven wrong, as you said you are, but you are so defensive and dismissive. I am of the opinion that the cats in Australia in more likely pumas than panthers. As stated, it is unlikely that all these ‘black’ cats are melanistic leopards or jaguars, but more likely dark grey to black pumas. Also, a lot of sightings are of tan cats. I do also agree with the fact that a lot of images and footage taken are of large ferals – it is plain to see the size of the cats. You must always be critical of whatever evidence that is presented. But I do believe in their existence and I know what I’ve seen. I’m another one of your crazy unreliable witnesses. As I know you wont put anything on what I’ve seen, I won’t elaborate on my entirely exaggerated details, but I will say: keep your sceptisism, but put more faith in people. A lot of people who come forward with witness statements have got nothing to prove or gain by doing so, in fact, just the opposite. So why would they? Also, I would like to hear your opinion on the animal slaughters in gippsland and the Yarra ranges in Victoria? None of those hundreds of dead sheep and horses were killed by dogs – it was agreed on by the department of natural resources, who launched a massive search for the culprit – for the characteristics of the kills are totally wrong for a pack of dogs. Also, I just want to put out the disappearances of Paddy Hildebrand in Wilsons Prom and Warren Meyer in the Yarra Ranges. Yeah, yeah, no bodies, no proof of anything. But Paddy Hildebrand disappeared in a patch of bush only a few square metres big. I’m not screamin “big cat victims!” but where the is no body, no proof it’s always going to be part of the mystery.
    Peace, Lib x

  16. Hi Libby,

    I cannot comment on the specific cases you mention as I know nothing about them. That being said, did DNR do DNA testing and the like to find any hair, skin or saliva from the attack(ers) was their video evidence of big cats in the act? I think we need to use tools like the null hypothesis and Occam’s Razor to narrow it down to what it could have been. Either way I would really like to see the DNR’s report on these livestock killings so I could look over it and see what science was actually done to determine that it wasn’t done by wild dogs.
    In regards to the disappearances of those people, when looking at the possibillities we need to start with the most likely scenarios in which people have gone missing before. Usually it will be murder or people running away or falling and injuring themselves or even just getting so lost that they are totally not in the area where they started. All of those scenarios are extremely more likely than a big cat attack.

    You say I don’t have faith in people and that these people have nothing to gain from coming forward with their stories.
    I agree this is likely true. However, anecdotes cannot be used as a reliable form of evidence, what anecdotes are good for is helping investigators and researchers target where and what to look for to get real evidence.
    The other thing is too is that eye witness accounts are extremly inaccurate and this has been proven by science. Then we have pareidolia which could also explain big cat sightings.
    I have been fooled myself in the past, usually it turns out to be a wallaby or kangaroo or even a shadow, I get the adrenaline rush for a second but everytime I’ve worked out what it actually is.
    I am happy to be proven wrong but we need actual confirmation that they are here, we need real physical evidence and we need science to confirm it. Without any of this it it is more than likely they don’t exist.
    Cheers,
    Keith.

  17. Yes, we do need hard evidence. I agree that eye-witness accounts are hardly proving anything. But maybe they say enough – people are seeing things out in the bush, shouldn’t that at least be warning that we should be careful? There is actually a report in NSW of boy named Luke Walker that claims he was attacked by a big cat. I’m desperate for something to turn and prove the cats’ existence so I can jump up and down and say “I told you so!” but I’d rather Australian big cats be a myth than someone getting hurt.
    Also, speaking of DNA evidence, I thought that I might point out (just to feed the conspiracy fire) that it an independent big cat researcher in NSW sent hair and stool samples that he collected from the bush and hair and, as a control, hair and stool samples from a leopard in a private zoo to a government facility for testing. They both came back as domestic dog. (The name of this lab was never released, but it was reported to the authorities)
    P.S. Just want to say I don’t believe the conspiracy theories, but this one definitely gives ‘em juice!

  18. Hi Keith’
    No, no blog or website. Only came across this thread while reading your blog for information on stuff I’m actually interested in. Professionally, I work with landholders (rangeland pastoralists mainly) helping them think through their land management. At its simplest, that’s getting them to ask themselves what are they trying to do, how are they going to do it, and how will they know whether it worked or not.

    I got interested in this (and went to university as a mature age student) after working as a rural labourer for about 15 years. To be frank, I was tired of hearing so many of the blokes I worked for and with pontificating and agreeing with each other about how scientists were wankers and that no one could tell the man on the land anything – while in front of their eyes the country was dying from over-grazing, over-ploughing, acidity, salinity, soil structural collapse and erosion.

    The interesting thing is one never hears the really good farmers making statements like that. They’re too busy talking to everyone with something to say, weighing up what’s being said, and mentally testing that against what they know (or think) to be the case. And the really good scientists are taking exactly the same approach with the landholders they work with. Taking with them over what they’re doing that works, why is it working and how does one prove it and replicate it.

    It’s a real privilege to watch (let alone be granted the respect to allowed to participate in) such conversations between people who treat each other with the respect that experts from the different disciplines deserve.

    Which is a long-winded explanation of why, while off sick for a couple of weeks and hence with the time on my hands to go web surfing, I found the responses to your comments particularly irritating. Irritating enough to see if the ANY of the assertations were backed by fact.

    Apparently not. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me what the story of the mysterious Broken Hill lion is all about and why it’s important enough for the police to join the conspiracy and deny they ever shot a lion. Where are the press clippings? The name and date of the paper is all I ask, since noone seems to have access to a scanner.

    I glanced at a couple of the websites as well. Crikey. In one of them I came across a report on the attack on the teenager Lucy refers to. Luke Walker of Kenthurst.

    Now I grew up in Kenthurst. My mum ran the post office (gossip central) at Round Corner. I used to walk to primary school through the bush from Sagars Road in Kenthurst to Dural. I spent much of my childhood during the late 50s and 60s mucking about in the bush along O’Hara’s Creek. I earned pocket money trapping and shooting rabbits for skins and shooting flying foxes for local orchardists. Shot a lot of feral cats as well (saw them as competitors for rabbits). Went to primary and high school with other bush kids from across all of the country from Maraylya/Cattai in the west through Wiseman’s Ferry and Maroota to Berowra Waters in the east, and south to Castle Hill, and worked on various orchards in the district for the next couple of years. Lived even further out (Pitt Town / Maraylya) for a year or so in the mid 70s.

    In that time, I never saw or heard the slightest glimpse, track, hair, snarl, rumour, story or local myth of any “big cats” in the bush. I suppose such top order predators may have moved in more recently, but given the suburban development in the area since my day, that seems highly unlikely.

    But if they have recently extended their range, just what kind of “big cat” is it that is capable of killing stock and kangaroos but leaves a teenager with a couple of scratches on the arm? Is it wrong of me to wonder whether there’s any chance a seventeen year old might make up some outrageous story to cover doing something really, really stupid?

    And as for the following:
    “…an independent big cat researcher in NSW sent hair and stool samples that he collected from the bush and hair and, as a control, hair and stool samples from a leopard in a private zoo to a government facility for testing. They both came back as domestic dog.”

    Libby, I’m going to try very hard to be polite.

    DNA analysis is used to convict or acquit people of murder, rape etc. Families grieve over and bury otherwise unidentifiable bodies based on DNA identification. The law (and the press) understandably takes the credibility of scientific techniques such as DNA analysis very, very seriously – remember the Azaria Chamberlain case?

    If your “independent researcher” can prove that a laboratory failed (either deliberately or through incompetence) to distinguish between a dog and a cat, I can assure you the shit would seriously hit the fan. Courts would be tied up for years with a flood of legal appeals over convictions and other decisions that were based on DNA analysis. At the very least, the relevant laboratory and the analysts involved would be in disgrace and out of business, and a range of government ministers would be busy trying to explain how such a thing could happen on their watch.

    If, on the other hand, your “independent researcher” can’t prove their claims (i.e. table the original report as well as the result of analysis conducted by an independent lab on identical specimens) than at best they’re incompetent, at worst they’re lying. Probably both. For God’s sake, he/she distrusted the facility enough to submit what you call a control but was apparently happy to voluntarily surrender (and lose) their only sample? Give me strength…. Don’t expect me to do your job for you. Show a bit of critical thinking yourself and ask (stronger than ask, insist) the so-called researcher put up or shut up.

    Here’s an idea Libby. How about you get the believers in Australian big cats to contribute to a fund to undertake DNA analysis of slaughtered stock? They’re apparently the ones most interested, they claim to be the ones on the spot to collect the samples in a timely fashion, and it’s not all that expensive.

    Or maybe the farmers losing stock and income from the attacks would be interested. The landholders I deal with recognise that an investment that results in a demonstrable improvement their land management, such as being able to effectively target their expensive pest control efforts, in the long run means less losses and a higher income (and is tax deductible to boot).

    Oh, and here’s a tool that’s been around for years, how come none of you have thought of using it? Please don’t tell me you weren’t aware of it. You have been researching the best method of identifying the beast haven’t you?

    Hair ID: An Interactive Tool for Identifying Australian Mammalian Hair. CSIRO Publishing 2002. CD ROM. $195.00.

    It will get you to species level for a lot of Australian mammals. In its current form it can’t tell you whether the hair sample is puma or leopard (presumably because CSIRO is part of the conspiracy to deny those species are part of the Australian fauna) though that probably wouldn’t be a difficult enhancement. But it certainly can differentiate between dog and cat hair.

    Or is it more satisfying to expend all your energy and resources in collecting unverifiable claims in obscure websites that only attract other committed believers, and in agreeing with each other that for some bizarre reason, science and government is engaged in a conspiracy to hide the truth.

    Indulge me will you, explain to me exactly why they would want to or feel the need to do that?

  19. To give assholes like you a chance to to feel the need to bitch, I guess.
    The researcher’s name is Michael Williams. He’s been on the news countless times.
    Here’s an obscure website for you: Sydney Morning Herald: http://newsstore.smh.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?multiview=true&sy=smh&page=1&kw=%22big+cat%22&pb=all_ffx&dt=selectRange&dr=entire&so=relevance&sf=article&rc=200&rm=200&sp=nrm&clsPage=1&hids=&sids=SHD050227201H53OVVOS
    Seeing as you’re so full of brilliant ideas, go out there with them and prove yourself right. Evidently it’s that important to you.

  20. Libby your argument is moot. The article you speak of is not evidence for anything and is an argument of authority (a logical fallacy) and the other tool you used is ad hominem attacks another logical fallacy.

    Present real evidence that can be measured and analyzed to present a valid scientific argument.
    Also you cannot prove a negative so that is also an unfair argument.

    Anecdotes, arguments of authority, ad homonym attacks and special pleading makes bug cat believers less credible. If they are out there, there is evidence yet no DNA evidence or bodies have been brought forward. Why is this so?

    Sceptic,
    Please email me Keith@huntandshoot.com.au

  21. I’m not trying to present you with evidence. I know what I’ve seen, what my friends and neighbours have seen, and nothing anyone posts up here is going to make us believe that we’ve just convinced ourselves it’s something to worry about. I’m just trying to understand why there is no doubt in your mind that we’re just a bunch of liars and crazies. People are scared. Go ahead and you prove there is nothing to worry about.

  22. Nobody is calling you crazy or a liar, you may be mistaken in what you have seen but I don’t doubt that you think you have seen a big cat. I just don’t think you actually saw a big cat.
    The proof that there is nothing to worry about is the fact that there is not one recorded death by a wild big cat in Australia, there are no Govt warnings and no reason for any govt to cover up the existence of big cats.
    I will happily go into any part of Australia and not be worried about dying of a big cat attack. I’d be more worried about snakes, spiders and wild dogs!
    Please detail your experience.

  23. I have been within 15 feet of one of these cats deep of road and spooked it while it was drinking at a water hole. Plenty of mates have seen them also. We have discussed it many times and still don’t know what they are. I suspect the majoraty including the one I have seen to be an over sized ferral that seem to be breeding to unheard of sizes. The cat i saw was at least 2.5 feet tall and 4-5 feet including tail but it still had all the features Felis rather than Panthera. Only confusing part for me is a close friend chasing samba followed a large black cat like animal along a creek line through his scope and stated that it looked like a giant black quoll, definatly Marsupial andd his dog would’nt have a bar of it. Agree with you that the main thing I worry about in the bush is the new breed of wild dog.

  24. The evidence to capture one, will only result in the media saying it was probably only an escape or something like that, I keep an open mind about this subject as Australia is a big place and there are obviously still many animals yet to be discovered that people see every year, it is true some people do exaggerated but not everyone, so there is always some truth in what people say but not everyone! I know people who have seen animals as big cats and Tasmania tigers on the mainland and are puzzled by why they have not been discovered? just because people who see them, doesn’t mean they chose to do so and are not interested in proving it! I know a friend who was born and lives in the Colorado mountains of the USA and they have cougars all around them which is proven as people have hunted cougars over there for years, yet my friend lives on one of the mountains and has never seen a cougar with his own eyes, he has only seen tracks left by a cougar or large cat.

  25. Keith
    im on the trail of a puma(big cat) if you need evidence come see me ill take you out there in the bush,make sure you do some resurch on there behaviour befor you come and you wont be so cofident while we approch its home.
    im on the trail of a female and cubs i know it potential thats why i dont want to get close to the cat.
    reg Roger

  26. Another one of Keiths spin offs, get out of the city into the bush and stop paper punching with the keyboard mate… Grew up in Kangaroo Valley myself and seen enough evidence, but feel no need to prove it to you or anyone else!

  27. Like it was mentioned earlier, there’s more people out and about in the bush with digital cameras and mobiles etc, and yet no one has been able to provide scientific evidence of the Puma’s, Leopards or whatever. No remains, no droppings, no hair and no shred of dna evidence.

    I can accept that there may be a strain of large cat out there but without the scientific proof, I’d be far short of calling them panthers. With all these eye witnesses around that everyone likes to quote, surely these cats can’t be all that hard to locate and finding some dna proof should be a fairly easy task.

    Ahh Bozo, another comment containing an insult. You sound like a disgruntled old lady. There are other sites that cater specifically for your kind, I suggest you check them out as you obviously have no real input to offer to this one.

  28. I think if a pigmy hippo can live in the wild for 5yrs going unnoticed in the NT then a large feline would be able to live largely unnoticed also. Yes l know no bodies have been found but seriously how many dead koalas do you come across in the bush and there’s heaps of them kicking around. Interesting debate, keep it going.

  29. I enjoyed Sceptic’s comments. Myself I think there might be big cats out there as escapees of circuses and the like but doubt there is a population breeding. Don’t mind being proven wrong but there isn’t really much more than here say at present.

  30. Surely by now somebody has managed to get some clear photos using a trail camera to settle this debate once and for all?

  31. Agree 30/30 man, also with the comments of others saying that 99% of people who enter the bush would have a camera (or moblie phone that has one), yet no hard evidence (picture)of that big cat?

    As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words! (and a lot more in this case!)
    I know if I saw one and had no rifle then Id be making every attempt to get a pic either way!

  32. For infor on the Lioness being shot in Broken Hill in 85/86 go to Facebook page ‘Growing Up in Broken Hill’ and search for lion. Warning there is a picture of the shot lioness. All very true. Also a second lion excaped from a circus in the 90’s and was captured in a local street.

  33. interesting comments and points of view here. Given the size of our nation I think it’s very plausible for “big cats” to exist but I have yet to see any viable proof to substantiate the claim. In my time in the bush I have seen a lot of things that “appeared” to be animals only to turn out the be inanimate objects (no sorry NOT too much xxxx). I have seen a lot of grainy pictures of what the taker thought was a big cat but it’s like the yeti/yowie…. until there’s proof, I’ll keep an open mind. I also agree with some of the comment here in that if they are out there it’ll take the governments so long here to deal with them, they won’t be going away anytime soon.

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  35. Hi,
    Sorry for the “thread mine”but I have been searching the web for info on “Broken Hill Lioness for my granddaughter.
    In 1985 I worked for “Hi-Speed Transport” (now Hi-trans)and I was one of the truck drivers that stopped for this lioness on the Barrier Highway just west of Cockburn in the NSW/SA border about 6.30 in the morning. The animal crossed the road in front of us with a dead sheep and took shelter in a culvert. The other trucks were from Barrett’s Overnight and a SA Highways Dept. crew. The Cockburn copper nearly locked up the Barrett’s bloke when he woke him up yelling about a lion! Police from Broken Hill attended as well as RSPCA. A Bullens truck was stopped at Port Augusta and found to be carrying 5 lions from Beenleigh Qld to Wanneroo WA but with paperwork for 6. Bullens categorically denied losing a lion despite pleas from RSPCA that the animals weight was required so it could be safely tranquilised. With no safe alternative the animal was shot by a NSW Police officer, Andy Holmes or something like that, believe it or not the SA bloke had no ammo!!!! I am surprised at the difficulty in finding info on this incident on the web, I do know that pictures of the lion in the culvert appeared in the “Barrier Daily Truth” but since that paper is no longer I don’t whether copies survive.
    Also a lion escaped from a circus in O’Niell ? Park in the nineties but was captured after a short chase so that makes 3
    Broken Hill Lion Capital of Australia!

  36. Trail cameras have been around for several years now and one would think a big cat would have turned up by now. But, I am also at a loss to find that there arent many pictures from trail cameras showing feral cats either. Surely big cats are out there, so many people have seen them.

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