I BELIEVE: Ex-Tiaro mayor has seen legendary big cat
RANGERS have increased their patrols in the Glenwood area after reports of another "panther" sighting this week.
Glenwood resident James Fowler came face-to-face with what he believed was one of the legendary big cats early Tuesday morning.
Fraser Coast Councillor David Lewis said it was important for residents to report feral animal sightings.
"It helps us identify where feral animals are active within the region, especially in the less populated areas," he said.
"The data is used to develop our control program.
"Control programs are much more effective if they are run in conjunction with neighbouring land owners so we can target a bigger area of land."
Compliance staff recently increased their patrols in the Poona area after reports of wild dog activity in the village.
Commonly referred to as the Glenwood Panther or "large black cat", it's a legend that keeps resurfacing.
There were even rumours of a "Yengarie Lion".
Like any legend, there are sceptics and those who believe, and former Tiaro mayor John Horrex falls into the second category.
He said his belief in its existence was confirmed when he was at a hearing in Sydney in the 1980s.
"An engineer and the (council) CEO and I were attending a hearing in Sydney talking about development," he said.
"We were going up a lift with a parks officer and she showed us a poster showing all the endangered animals and I said 'where's the tiger cat'?"
Mr Horrex said once they exited the lift, he was pulled aside by the officer who asked about the tiger cat he mentioned.
"I told her I captured one in Deer Vale in 1954 on my uncle's property and it was a panther-like creature, certainly not a native cat," he said.
"The officer said they don't publicise it because they don't want people going into the mountains to shoot them."
After it was killed, Mr Horrex killed the creature and eventually it became decor for his mother's living room until it mysteriously went missing.
He described the fur as being similar to a cow or horse with hairs "very tight and short".
Another local revealed he had also spotted what he now understands was a panther when he was in Sydney as a teenager in the early 1960s.
He was at Glen Alice in the Capertree Valley, NSW in a large patch of untouched bushland where he was participating in a "Kangaroo drive" when he saw the animal in broad daylight.
"It was during a 'roo drive and I was in a line of about six people about 100m or so apart and we were driving the kangaroos toward about 10 shooters waiting on a fence line," he said.
"I came over the second last ridge and in the tree hollow I spotted these two creatures.
"They were cat-like but way too bit, black or nearly lack, with an extremely long tail which was the most notable feature."
The cats then silently took off in a direction between other drivers and shooters, however they were not seen by anyone else.