Hi. My name is Peter, and I believe that I might have seen something of interest today while walking along the Great Ocean Walk between Aire River and Castle Cove.
Whilst I am not sure I would describe what I saw as a "panther", I am in no doubt that it was a black cat, so I thought I would pass the information on in case it is of any value to your research.
I am visiting Apollo Bay for the week and have been on several walks. I can remember many years ago reading about sightings of "panther" like black cats in Victoria. I couldn't remember the areas, but after I saw what I saw today, I googled "Black cat Otways" and came up with your site.
I was walking along the track from the Aire River camping ground to Castle Cove. Total distance is 5.5 km. The walk took me 70 minutes one way, and I estimate the sighting was about 15 - 20 minutes in to the trip, so I estimate approximately 1.5 to 2KM from the Aire River camping ground. The time would have been approximately 1:50 PM Friday 8th May. I turned a corner in the track and saw a black cat running away from me. It had obviously heard me coming and disappeared very quickly. I estimate that I only saw it for about 2 seconds before it disappeared from view in to the bushes. I did not see it's head as it was facing the other way, but I got a good look at it's rear torso, hind quarters and tail.
I can't be sure exactly what size it was, as the sighting was so brief; but I can say my impression was that it was a bit bigger than a normal domestic cat. Domestic cats can vary in size of course so I would say it was the same size as a very large domestic cat. Not fat though. On the contrary it was very lean. It had short black hair and had quite a long tail, I estimate the tail was over 2 feet long. The tail was also short black hair.
When I googled "black cat" when I got home, I saw one report which described a "bushy" tail. You certainly could not have described the trail I saw as "bushy". It was long and slender with short black hair. As I said it was a bit hard to estimate the size because I saw it only briefly and can't be certain exactly how far it was away, but if I had to put a figure on it I would say the top of it's back at the hind quarters was about 18 inches to 2 feet off the ground. I don't have any idea what length it was because I didn't see the front of it at all as it was running away from me.
It could well be that I have just seen a large black cat turned feral; but I thought I would pass on the information in case it links in with other sightings in the area.
Hi I am one of those who have had the experience of finding the remains of a kangaroo that was eaten by something other than a fox or a dog.
October last year I discovered the half eaten remains. It had puncture marks in its neck and it appeared to have a broken spine ,what ever it was that had attacked it had very neatly eaten all the internal organs and cleaned the ribs of all flesh leaving it intact. The following day the kangaroos legs had been stripped bare but the bones were intact.
Is this the work of a big cat?