Do Black Panthers prowl the Hunter Valley?
Sightings of mysterious large black panthers have been reported in many areas of Australia including;
The Blue Mountains
Sydney’s North West
Yet it may come as a surprise to some that many sightings of large phantom black cats have been witnessed in the Hunter Valley Region.
In December of 2015 a former Nelson Bay resident Andrew Lewer in the early morning whilst out 4-wheel driving in the Medowie State Forest caught a very good look at a large feline type creature in his vehicles spotlights on Ringwood Road.
Mr Lewer said “It walked out of the bush and got stunned by my lights for two to three seconds”. “When I came to a stop, 100 metres or so from it, it ran into the bush.” It had big green eyes, was between 2.5 and three feet tall, and weighed 50 or 60 kilos no problem at all.”
“What I saw was built differently to a [domestic] cat,” he said. “It was built thick all ‘round in its legs and body.”
The report of the large feline attracted the attention of Anna Bay conservation biologist Terry Domico who encouraged people to contact him with any more sightings or evidence.
In June 2012 a Mr Briggs of Lake Munmorah whose home backs onto a state recreation area found paw prints in sand in his backyard that he believed belonged to large feline possibly a panther.
"I thought straight away it was a panther because a few big cats have been sighted around here," Mr Briggs said. "The paw prints were as big as my hand and I have a bigger than normal hand size."
Mr Briggs said he showed pictures he took of the paw print to National Parks and Wildlife Service officials and they were "astounded".
Mr Briggs said there were other signs of a big cat in the area.
"Not so long ago a workman found a half-eaten wallaby in bush between Wyee and Morisset," he said.
He believed a big cat was near his yard around Christmas.
"My son's dog, a Staffy, sensed something and he came to the door looking absolutely petrified," he said.
"Staffies aren't frightened of anything, but we couldn't calm it down."
22 Jan 2016 Jack Tessier, 16, of Cardiff, took a plaster cast of a large paw print found in mud while four-wheel driving recently off Old Maitland Road in Wyee.
“I was shocked to come across it,” Jack said. Jack’s research led him to believe that “Lake Macquarie is a big hotspot for big cats”. “I strongly believe the area has all a panther needs to survive,” he said.
Other area’s in the Hunter Region Black Panther have been reported to Unexplained Australia are;
In May 2001, a freedom-of-information request revealed the state government had been keeping a secret file on panther sightings.