Did You Know that there have been 100’s of reported sightings of panthers in The Otways?!

The eyes of a predator


Did You Know that there have been 100’s of reported sightings of panthers in The Otways since the mid 19th Century?

Folklore or Fact?

I read the recent article about the sightings of big cats in the Otways. Always been a sceptic about these kind of things but in January 2006 we too saw a big black cat. Myself and partner were driving on a dirt track out the back of Lavers Hill (Otways) near my Auntie’s residence when we noticed a big black cat on the road in front of us. It took off up the embankment as we approached in the car. It was about the size of our 2 year old Labrador. Anyway I’m happy to give you the exact locations if you keep a record of sightings. 

Received 04/02/2010 by http://www.bigcatsvic.com.au/

Historically stories of big cats roaming The Otways started up in a big way, after fragmentary sightings here and there, in the late 1960s (via newspaper reports and government records) but is part of a broader pattern of Victorian sightings that goes back to the mid 1800s. A lot of the early stories were tied up with circus, pet and menageries escapes and releases by the Acclimatisation Societies, created in order to “enrich” the fauna of a region with animals and plants from around the world, in the 1860s. Consecutive governments, up until the second world war, dealt with the panic by presenting a big dog as the culprit to placate people. In the 1960s it took off again with a flurry of newspaper reports and sightings, and that pretty much is the situation today.



Read more in this book:

Snarls from the Tea Tree: Big Cat Folklore

By David Waldron and Simon Townsend

Fantasy or fact, truly believed or doubted or manufactured, big cat scares have for generations haunted south-eastern Australia. The notion that a big cat has escaped and is at loose, or that the thylacine survives, is exciting and we may wish it to be true; it seems just possible. An ancient landscape of crags and lava cones and endless forbidding bush plays with the mind and is a dramatic backdrop for folklore. Stories of stock kills and claims of paw-prints have some kind of foundation; rumours of ‘beast’ attacks feed a persistent mythology


Paperback: 189 pages

Publisher: Australian Scholarly Publishing (October 1, 2012)

RRP: $34.95


One thought on “Did You Know that there have been 100’s of reported sightings of panthers in The Otways?!

  1. The picture of the black feline in the grass looks like a large household cat gone feral. The ears are too big (in proportion to the head) and the head is too small (in proportion to the body) for it to be a leopard.

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