It’s the creature that the New South Wales State Government says its existence is “highly unlikely” but for the second time in almost as many months the elusive Black Panther has been spotted in Far Western Sydney.
According to the Illawarra Mercury last month Greg Culley and his 13-year-old son Samuel were walking in dense bushland north of Snapsack Reserve by Lapstone Creek when they heard a rustle of bushes close by, followed by a loud ‘thud’ sound.
“There was a thud like something came out of the tree. We thought it was a roo. But it was a large, shiny, black animal as big as a German Shepherd,” Mr Culley said when recounting the experience.
“It was a big mass of black, flying at stealth mode along the ridge. Sammy saw the tail. It moved like a cat.”
When questioned about possible alternatives, including the NSW State Governments stance made in November 2003 where an inquiry found it is ‘more likely than not’ a colony of big cats was roaming around the New South Wales bush, Mr Culley believed it was too big to be a feral cat, nor did he think it was a kangaroo.
It follows other recent sightings including one made in March, just weeks before the Culley’s sightings, where a black panther was reportedly spotted near Pulpit Rock in Blackheath by a tourist from Perth.
On that occasion it was said that Sam Maher, the tourist who made the report, felt something behind him and he turned around to an ‘undeniable glimpse of the back of a large jet-black animal with a long tail’.
He went on to say “I feel a little big funny. You read stories like this and you think this guy’s full of s— but I have to stick by what my eyes saw.”
Prior to the Maher sighting there were claims the black panther was lurking in bush land around the south coast suburb of Austinmer.
Hazelbrook resident Mike Williams, co-author of the book Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers on the subject, said it was unlikely it was the same animal reported in Blackheath a month earlier.
“These animals, like most large felids, are capable of roaming large distances if the need arose. The main driving force would be the density of prey animals in the area,” he said.
“We believe it would be highly improbable that the sightings are of the same animal.”
He said the distance and time and rarity of seeing the panther suggested it was a different animal. There have been numerous sightings of a black panther in the Illawarra region over recent years most recently being a father and son who were checking the surf when they spotted the infamous creature.
The pair said they turned to each other and confirmed it was the black panther. Former Wollongong Councillor Bede Crasnich last year offered five thousand dollars to the person who captured the black panther alive and unharmed.
The New South Wales state government were forced to re-open their inquiry into the sightings that they closed in 2003 after getting a large amount of reports of the creature throughout bush land across the State.
“There is no conclusive evidence that large cats exist in the wild in New South Wales,” the second report found, effectively leaving the ‘panther phenomenon’ inconclusive.
Victoria’s The Arthur Rylah Institute began their own investigation in 2012, tasked with investigating the existence of big cats. They were eventually forced to call it off, citing a lack of hard evidence to verify if wild big cats were actually roaming around the bush. The Victorian State Government said their existence was highly unlikely.
If you have seen the elusive black panther Horror Australia urges you to make direct contact with the Australian Cryptozoology Research Organisation either through their website or via their Facebook page.