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Mystery Australian Big Cat Shot

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the fortean-indeed dept.

Sci-Fi 421

mugley writes "The Sunday Herald Sun is running a story about the shooting of a large cat, believed to be a leopard or puma, in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia. Alien big cats have long been a topic of interest for cryptozoologists (and more recently, Lance Henriksen and his credit card) - is this the first real evidence of their existence?" From the article: "Mike Williams, a representative of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, a body that researches mysterious or out-of-place animals, said he believed it was concrete evidence that big cats are on the loose in Australia. Hundreds of sightings have been reported over the years and a leaked government document revealed 59 sightings had been reported in Gippsland between 1998 and 2001. The cats are said to be descendants of animals that either escaped from zoos or circuses or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II. "

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wow (1)

cobe98 (628382) | about 9 years ago | (#13749458)

a nice big black pussy

That's a Cat? (1)

QuaZar666 (164830) | about 9 years ago | (#13749459)

I don't know exactly what this is, but I can't see a Cat in it, in fact it doesn't look like anything, and the picture quality isn't the best either.

Re:That's a Cat? (2, Funny)

mincognito (839071) | about 9 years ago | (#13749464)

The cat's head was shot off by the hunter. The tail was removed and sent to a lab.

Re:That's a Cat? (5, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | about 9 years ago | (#13749465)

I don't know exactly what this is, but I can't see a Cat in it

I can see Jesus in it. How much do you think I'll get on eBay for it?

Re:That's a Cat? (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | about 9 years ago | (#13749468)

That's becuase, which you'd know if you read the article, it's head was blown clean off. A big, black, sleek, furry thing 4 legs and a tail is what the picture shows. What else could it be?

At any rate, the guy kept the tail as proof, so its a pretty safe bet the picture isn't some hoax.

Re:That's a Cat? (1)

QuaZar666 (164830) | about 9 years ago | (#13749480)

Of course, because its from a news site so it must be true.

Re:That's a Cat? (1)

Cyberllama (113628) | about 9 years ago | (#13749486)

No, no. If its on Slashdot it must be true! They never make mistakes.

Re:That's a Cat? (1)

QuaZar666 (164830) | about 9 years ago | (#13749495)

How dumb of me, of course since it is on Slashdot it is true, and slashdot never duplicates a story. Never in its life has it anything like that.

Re:That's a Cat? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749505)

wow! you're so cynical and witty! could you please go kill yourself? kthxbye~!

Re:That's a Cat? (1)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 9 years ago | (#13749479)

Why sure it is. If you've ever played with a cat and dangled it upside down, they look just like that! (minus the maimed head, of course) My cat loves being upside down - but he's wierd and likes to lay on his back, too - something most cats hate...

Re:That's a Cat? (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 years ago | (#13749588)

Why sure it is. If you've ever played with a cat and dangled it upside down, they look just like that!

I haven't done that - I'm too interested in keeping the skin on my hands and forearms.

I think you're right about it being a cat though. It's proportions are similar to a domestic animal, and the hunter has been careful to put the carcass in the foreground where it will appear large compared to reference objects like the motorcycle in the background.
I've shot feral cats in the north of WA which were much larger than domestic cats - bigger than foxes in the same area and comparable in size to a small to medium dog. They tended to be a fairly uniform brindle colour, but every so often you'd see a ginger or black cat.

I think this is mostly a scam. The guy has shot a large feral cat, played with perspectives in the photo to make it look bigger, and will dine out on the tabloid news media for a few days until the DNA evidence shows he's shot a wild felis cattus.

Re:That's a Cat? (2, Funny)

modecx (130548) | about 9 years ago | (#13749619)

Indeed, I have a flame point siamese (a mutt, but that's what the vet calls him), he's always on his back, in some weird pose. It's pretty funny, because he often sleeps with all fours pointed straight up. Every siamese I've known acted contrary to most other cats. He also goes nuts for lettuce. Like I said... Weird.

HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (5, Funny)

ferrellcat (691126) | about 9 years ago | (#13749462)

LETS KILL IT!!!

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749482)

Did you even bother to read the part where the cat charged him?

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749609)

It's coming right for us!

[BANG!]

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (1)

arlandbayes (770479) | about 9 years ago | (#13749488)

Cripes, all these years I have been bushwalking in Australia. I could have been attacked by a panther!

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (1)

Shanep (68243) | about 9 years ago | (#13749623)

KARN THE PANTHERS!

Go hard you little beauties!!!

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749497)

gee... i wonder, perhaps the animal isn't native and is damaging the environment. probably best to protect it...

Re:HEY LOOK: A RARE AND MAGNIFICENT ANIMAL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749517)

Just thought I'd mention that he claims it was coming right for him ;)

an australian viewpoint... (3, Insightful)

unfunk (804468) | about 9 years ago | (#13749552)

Gee, let me think...

* Introduced Species, check
* Predatory behaviour, check
* Running unchecked in the Australian bush, check

Considering how much damage smaller introduced animals (cats, dogs, rats, mice, rabbits, foxes, cane toads, et al) have done to our wildlife, do we really want much larger ones running around unchecked?
I'd say not - the real question is how this guy managed to have a gun, given our mega tight gun laws :D

Re:an australian viewpoint... (4, Funny)

The Fanta Menace (607612) | about 9 years ago | (#13749634)

Gee, let me think...
* Introduced Species, check
* Predatory behaviour, check
* Running unchecked in the Australian bush, check

That describes most Australian farmers.

Re:an australian viewpoint... (1)

Shanep (68243) | about 9 years ago | (#13749635)

I'd say not - the real question is how this guy managed to have a gun, given our mega tight gun laws :D

Our laws are not so tight as to make it very difficult to have a gun. It's the type of gun where difficulties can be wildly different. You can own guns such as shotguns, rifles and pistols, but there are limitations on round capacity and various responsibilities for different types. If you want a pistol (even semi auto), you have to join a gun club and attend meets and shoots at least a certain number of times per year. You cannot own any rifle or shotgun which is considered an "assault" weapon. Like assault rifles or assault shotguns (shotgun with pistol grip and no shoulder stock).

Apply for a gun licence at your local cop shop, wait out the "cooling off" period, meet the home safety requirements (VERY stringent for pistol ownership), possibly allow an inspection of your home (especially for pistol ownership) by police to show you do in fact meet these requirements, go to a gun shop and buy a gun.

Then, go bush, find a big black pussy, blow it to bits.

In the Northern Territory however, I think you could indeed blow that pussy to bits with the weapon of your choice, short of a fully automatic. I think they can still own the likes of AK-47's (limited to semi) and Colt AR-15's. But I could be wrong about that. I don't keep up with NT that much.

First, let's kill it... (5, Insightful)

Create an Account (841457) | about 9 years ago | (#13749576)

Then, I know, I'll cut off its TAIL!

Hmm, what about the rest of the carcass? Hey, I'll throw it away!

What was this guy thinking? He kills a rare "urban myth" creature (one he had never seen in 50 years hunting the outback), proving the claims of hundreds of farmers (whether he knew it or not), and the best plan he can come up with is 'keep the tail - throw out the rest'? He was hunting deer, right? He had to have some plan to carry the deer out of the wild, right?

Can you imagine the scene when he came back into town?

"Hey, see this black rope?"
"Yeah?"
"It's part of a gigantic cat I shot while I was hunting!"
"Yeah?" (Sceptically)
"Yeah!" (Brandishes tail) "Look, It was coming right at me!"
"Yeah. Right"
"No, REALLY..."

Re:First, let's kill it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749642)

"o rly?"
"ya rly"

Sorry, But I Had To Say it... (4, Funny)

Mister Transistor (259842) | about 9 years ago | (#13749463)

"It was comin' right for us!"

Re:Sorry, But I Had To Say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749570)

All right kids grab a gun, and a beer. Hey steady on kids - you're gonna spill your beer!!

At least... (0, Redundant)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | about 9 years ago | (#13749473)

At least he remembered to yell "He's coming straight for us!" before he shot it...

On a serious note, how do you hit an animal behind the shoulder and blow it's head off? Wouldn't that mean the cat was running away?

Re:At least... (1)

RiverTonic (668897) | about 9 years ago | (#13749546)

No, it means that the cat was running backwards to him.

Re:At least... (1)

Takumi2501 (728347) | about 9 years ago | (#13749578)

Glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed that. :)

Re:At least... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749596)

RTFA guys, "I pulled up the rifle and at that moment it turned to the left... He was making long jumps. On about the third jump I shot him."

It was running away.

Re:At least... (1)

cerebis (560975) | about 9 years ago | (#13749644)

Well he said it was coming towards him and then turned to the left, so the report isn't paradoxical. Still, why would you obtain practically irrefutable evidence of such a contenious subject and then dispose of the majority of it? It would be substantially easier to fake the photo and supply some tissue samples, than to present a fresh carcass.

Sure dragging it back to your vehicle would be a chore, but he obviously must have had some plan for doing so since he was hunting deer. I might not want to lug something through the forest, but I think I would have been sufficiently motivated in this case. It's a sensational find if it can be proven, though I'd rather not see anything killed. At the very least, he could have left it somewhere to be easily recovered.

Which Big Cat? (5, Insightful)

animeshpathak (873597) | about 9 years ago | (#13749474)

"... believed to be a leopard or puma..."

How does one confuse a leopard [google.com] with a puma [google.com] , especially when the animal in question is not running, but lying dead in front of you?
Or maybe they are talking about mysterious out-of-place big cats that alternate between two shapes :-?

-A

Re:Which Big Cat? (1)

RhoryCalhoon (588395) | about 9 years ago | (#13749515)

I don't think they are talking about a cat that is definitely a leopord or a puma. I thought they were saying it could be a relative of one or some subclass of one. But then again, I'm an idiot, so don't listen to me.

Schroedinger's Cat! (5, Funny)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 9 years ago | (#13749528)

It was in a superposition of states, clearly:

    { |leopard> + |puma> } / sqrt(2)

When they measure the carcass, they will of course find that it has collapsed to one or the other.

Re:Which Big Cat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749531)

Because the people trying to classify it didn't actually get to see it, dude dumped it into river, just brought back the tail.

RTFA?

Re:Which Big Cat? (2, Funny)

mroch (715318) | about 9 years ago | (#13749551)

I don't think they're that dumb, but you didn't think to check for black leopards [google.com] ...

Re:Which Big Cat? (1)

Hymer (856453) | about 9 years ago | (#13749583)

He maybe confuses them with the jaguar [google.com]

here kitty, kitty, kitty (2, Insightful)

rheotaxis (528103) | about 9 years ago | (#13749477)

Are we sure these aren't kittens of something even bigger?

Why (5, Interesting)

$exyNerdie (683214) | about 9 years ago | (#13749478)

The retired engineer said he lugged the cat back to his camp, but put the carcass into the river after removing the tail and photographing it.

Why oh why?

Re:Why (1)

Detritus (11846) | about 9 years ago | (#13749498)

To give the crocs a free meal and recycle the carcass.

Re:Why (1)

HaveBlue34 (142274) | about 9 years ago | (#13749514)

cause they DONT taste like chicken.

South Park Defense (4, Funny)

SQLz (564901) | about 9 years ago | (#13749483)

The best part of the article is this when the hunter says, "The predator charged in his direction." He's obviously been watching too much South Park. I be t the cat was running in the opposite direction and he yelled "Look out, its coming right for us", and shot it.

Kept asking for money (1)

No Salvation (914727) | about 9 years ago | (#13749494)

Stupid cat wanted to borrow tree fidy, so I shot it.

Hm summary sun (4, Informative)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13749503)

" this the first real evidence of their existence?"
No , not at all . There have been numerous examples found over the years . As the article says
"Hundreds of sightings have been reported over the years and a leaked government document revealed 59 sightings had been reported in Gippsland between 1998 and 2001.
 
The cats are said to be descendants of animals that either escaped from zoos or circuses or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II."
What is interesting is the cats origin , Is it a pure puma or has it interbred with other escaped cats in the bush

Re:Hm summary sun (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13749532)

No , not at all . There have been numerous examples found over the years . As the article says
"Hundreds of sightings have been reported over the years and a leaked government document revealed 59 sightings had been reported in Gippsland between 1998 and 2001.

The cats are said to be descendants of animals that either escaped from zoos or circuses or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II."
Oh and because it's in a government report it MUST be true. Here's a question for you, oh gullible one, have scientists accepted that there are big cats going around? Or has the lack of proof [wikipedia.org] (up until now) made everyone investigate it, but come back with inconclusive results.

Oh, by the way, there are aliens among us as well. There's government reports on it and everything. [wikipedia.org]

(I was kidding, although I did have a point I wrapped up in my humour ;)).

DNA analysis result (0)

Muhammar (659468) | about 9 years ago | (#13749508)

Bad, bad eucalyptus. Global warming is accelerating (marsupials).

Hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749509)

Nice variation though. "Threw the carcass in the river".... Yeah, right.

Endangered species? (0)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13749512)

While the cats may not be endangered on Earth, could they be endangered in Australia (as in the number of them in Australia is at a dangerous level for the cats to continue without becoming extinct)? If so, should they be protected? While having pumas (assuming that's what this is) roaming around Australia near populated areas isn't a good thing to have, shouldn't the government now step in and assess their affect on the environment, and if possible (while keeping humans and the environment at large safe) allow the population of the puma's to grow to a level where they won't be threatened with extinction? I'm not saying it CAN be done (they're a wild animal so they're dangerous to humans and they're not native to Australia so it's quite likely they'll have a large impact on it), it should at least be considered before the hunters of Victoria are let loose.

It might be a bit of a jump to say they're population in Australia is endangered, but if they are escaped creatures that were once captive, there can't be too many of them out there, so to me it's logical that they would be faced with extinction.

Re:Endangered species? (1)

Detritus (11846) | about 9 years ago | (#13749527)

The native wildlife have enough problems without having to deal with another imported species.

Weren't there large marsupial cats in Australia that went extinct?

large (roasted) marsupial, mmmmm (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 9 years ago | (#13749543)

I think the prevailing theory is that Australia's large marsupials went very well with a gourd of fermented grape, since they all went extinct around the time early humans arrived in Australia...

Re:large (roasted) marsupial, mmmmm (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | about 9 years ago | (#13749560)

Some interesting debate on the megafauna extinction here [abc.net.au] . Or if you're after fermented grapes, visit here [coriole.com] , and disregard this [phespirit.info]

tasmanian tiger (4, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | about 9 years ago | (#13749653)

You are probably referring to the Tasmanian Tiger. It actually was a marsupial wolf that had stripes, so ignorant humans called it a 'tiger'. The humans then proceeded to place a bounty on its head and hunt it into extinction. It was indigineous to the area. The humans were less so. Seth

Re:Endangered species? (1)

atrus (73476) | about 9 years ago | (#13749533)

You do realize Austrailia has no native cat species, right?

Re:Endangered species? (1)

deimtee (762122) | about 9 years ago | (#13749571)

No actual feline species, but the Quoll is pretty much the marsupial equivalent. Cute animals :)

Re:Endangered species? (3, Insightful)

maglor_83 (856254) | about 9 years ago | (#13749540)

They shouldn't be there to begin with anyway. We have enough problems with feral cats, dogs, foxes, rabbits etc without encouraging even more non-native wildlife, especially carnivores, since Australian fauna have been largely without natural predators for thousands of years.

Re:Endangered species? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 9 years ago | (#13749548)

They shouldn't be there to begin with anyway.

Neither should humans. They've caused the most damage to the Australian wildlife. I know, let's kill all the humans as well. All I'm asking is that before we go on a killing rampage, see if they CAN be kept here (in some sort of condition) that won't be harmful to the environment or humans. I'm not saying we MUST, merely that we should consider it.

Re:Endangered species? (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | about 9 years ago | (#13749637)

We certainly have had the most impact on the environment. I don't see any reason to continue this tradition however. I really don't think there's going to be any extermination attempt on them if they are actually there, but I definitely don't agree that an introduced species should be classified as endangered.

Re:Endangered species? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749612)

Are you saying the abos are un-natural ?

Re:Endangered species? (2, Interesting)

idlake (850372) | about 9 years ago | (#13749561)

The issue isn't numbers, it's genetic and ecological diversity.

If they were introduced by humans, they should be eliminated from Australia, since they are likely going to make native species extinct.

Ob quote (5, Funny)

feyhunde (700477) | about 9 years ago | (#13749525)

A Puma Ate my baby!

Re:Ob quote (2, Insightful)

Frogbert (589961) | about 9 years ago | (#13749550)

I don't know why you Americans seem to find that funny. Its pretty cold actually given its pretty likely a Dingo did eat that kid.

Re:Ob quote (1)

Diag (711760) | about 9 years ago | (#13749629)

Um, it's not only Americans who make jokes about that. There's no reason to single them out. (I'm Australian)

Re:Ob quote (1)

Hymer (856453) | about 9 years ago | (#13749614)

You are wrong... it was a Panther... or maybe a Jaguar... and if it got spots, it could also have been a Leopard...

Fisher Cat (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | about 9 years ago | (#13749537)

Fisher Cats [pusscats.com] (not a true cat) have been known to raise eyebrows. They will often take you by surprize and are very quick to get away.

They have a fierce scream too, which sounds fairly human and sometimes causes alarm for that reason. Don't know if they appear in Australia however(?)....

Dude! I've slept in the forest where this cat was! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749545)

I was in the Australian Army for a number of years and participated in exercises in the National Park near Sale. I was mates with numerous soldiers who had claimed to seen the Gippsland cat whilst on exercise in the national park but no photos were ever taken. Funny thing was we were more intrigued by the local prison population who did community work in the forest with their bright orange jumpsuits than by mysterious big cats.

Kzin invade at last ! (1)

S3D (745318) | about 9 years ago | (#13749553)

This hunter is bold man. Kzinti [wikipedia.org] won't forigive killing their recon and hanging his body in such humiliating manner.

I'm sorry, but.. (2, Insightful)

Pudusplat (574705) | about 9 years ago | (#13749557)

Ok, this situation is hilarious. In Australia I suppose its not only ok but ENCOURAGED by the media to be a crazy redneck shooting random wild animals? I guess they have a history of roughing it and theres dangerous animals a-plenty, but still that culture seems a little bit whacked out. Just look how happy that crazy redneck in the picture is.

I guess that at least its extremely funny, if a bit strange and creepy.

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749607)

Australian culture doesn't promote this sort of activity, this man kept the fact that he killed this animal secret for a while and didn't want publiccity for it (Read TFA)
You should think carefully before making audacious statements like that.
Steve Erwin does not equal one of our assets. (that wanker)
I should add that in Australia we don't exactly 'rough it' you might note that we have the highest number of cities in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world according to The Economist.

ViceVirtue (teamqqp.com)

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749617)

In Australia I suppose its not only ok but ENCOURAGED by the media to be a crazy redneck shooting random wild animals?

Or immigrants and anyone else who talks funny, in the current media climate.

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (2, Informative)

Diag (711760) | about 9 years ago | (#13749621)

"In Australia I suppose its not only ok but ENCOURAGED by the media to be a crazy redneck shooting random wild animals?"

Well, yes the media will promote anything wacky, but is it any different in any other western country?

On the other hand, the culling of any non-native species, such as wild cats, that kill birds and disrupt the food supply of native predators, is generally encouraged. Many people here would even like to see domestic cats eradicated.

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | about 9 years ago | (#13749624)

I guess they have a history of roughing it and theres dangerous animals a-plenty

Time you read the Dummy's Guide to Australia (part 1) [ladymisstree.com] and part 2 [ladymisstree.com] .

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749632)

It's just like an American to categorize the culture of an entire nation based on on the actions or comments of one idiot.

A history of roughing it?

You have to be kidding. You sound like someone who bases their education on what they learn from the Simpsons.

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | about 9 years ago | (#13749641)

Unfortunatly most of our dangerous animals are snakes or spiders and don't make good hunting. With the possible exception of the dingo x german sheperd we've got running wild around our rural property...

Re:I'm sorry, but.. (1)

minorproblem (891991) | about 9 years ago | (#13749649)

Seeming australia banned weapons except basically at farms, and in special shooting ranges.

I'm A Skeptic (2, Funny)

Legendof_Pedro (900265) | about 9 years ago | (#13749559)

I won't beleive anything 'till you bring me a faeces sample, and not just the faeces of someone who's seen this mystery animal!

OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749600)

What's your address?

The Sunday Herald Sun (4, Insightful)

nihilogos (87025) | about 9 years ago | (#13749562)

For those who aren't familiar with it, is one of the trashiest "newspapers" around. And the Centre for Fortean Zoology [cfz.org.uk] 's whose mission statement is "At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them."

News for nuts.

Re:The Sunday Herald Sun (1)

cheesee (97693) | about 9 years ago | (#13749620)

Not just the Sunday Herald Sun. It was published in atleast all of News Corps. sunday rags. But yeah, they are all of roughly the same quality.

Call me a skeptic... (4, Insightful)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | about 9 years ago | (#13749563)

this seems fishy to me. Firstly, the hunter reckons his bullet blew the feline's head apart, and from the photo it really looks like there is NOTHING left of it... would a RIFLE bullet really do that much damage? I mean, if it was a shot gun, fired into it's face, then yea, but a rifle fired from behind, passing in behind the ear and THEN blowing the head apart?

Secondly, rather than pack out this surely important find, he cuts off the tail and just takes that with him, I mean, if it were me, I'd be carrying the whole carcass out, or at least marking and burying it so they can come back and retrieve it. It's not even like he had to carry it, he could have strapped it on like a backpack (I believe this is how hunters carry deer), tied it on the back of the bike, or even towed it behind the bike wrapped in a tarpaulin or something, it was dead anyway not like he could have hurt it any more than it was.

Thirdly, the fact that he shot the thing, when it was not a threat (he says it turned away, side on), with a rifle. I've never shot a gun, rifle or otherwise, but I imagine that with a rifle there needs to be some aiming involved, he was calm enough to aim, and fire the gun, making a clean shot into the cats head... if a big cat graced my path, I think I'd be frozen stiff, hoping like hell it won't be interested in me, not tracking it with the sights on my rifle.

I dunno, this whole thing just seems really fishy to me. Not that there couldn't be a few big cats roaming the Australian countryside, but have a sneaking suspicion that this was not one of them.

Aiming rifles (4, Interesting)

Create an Account (841457) | about 9 years ago | (#13749630)

Yeah, there is a good bit of aiming involved. This guy was apparently an experienced hunter, and some of those guys areinsanely good shots. When it turned away, it was actually a harder shot because it was moving side to side (bearing change) rather than coming straight at him.

He said he hit it behind the shoulder (which is about where you would aim) and the bullet destroyed the head. This implies either that the cat was running away from him, or the bullet was deflected inside the cat's body (probably by a bone or rib.)

Finally, if he was using hollow points (which is more likely in some rifles than in others) it could very easily blow the majority of the head off. So, maybe.
That paper's not very credible, though, and lots of people are saying the big cats are just myths, and he did throw away his best evidence. So, maybe not.

Interesting idea, either way.

Alien cats (5, Funny)

future assassin (639396) | about 9 years ago | (#13749564)

Man I though they meant mysterious out-of-space. Got all excited there thinking I'd have to say "I for one welcome our new Mysterious Out-Of-Space Alien cat overlords".

mysterious or out-of-place animals, said he believed it was concrete evidence

I call B### SH##T on this one (5, Insightful)

The Famous Druid (89404) | about 9 years ago | (#13749577)

1. The Herald Sun is ... how should I put this... not renowned for its high standards of journalistic integrity.

2. A hunter shoots a 'mythical beast', takes a photograph of the carcass (but not a very good photo, it's hard to tell WTF it is he's shot) and then only bothers to bring back the tail?
Oh Puh-lease !

3. I've been hiking in places which really have big cats (national parks in South America) and the paw-prints and 'traces' (puma sh#t) are everywhere. If there was a population of big cats in Gippsland, we'd know about it.

Re:I call B### SH##T on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749643)

Dude, please stop vandalising the English language by censoring words like "shit" or "bullshit". Everybody shits about once a day, so there really is nothing awkward or embarrassing about this word.

Re:I call B### SH##T on this one (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | about 9 years ago | (#13749648)

I live in Western Australia, Perth. I've seen this story once a year for the past four. Must be a slow news day.

Cryptozoologists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749581)

...have long been a topic of interest for cryptozoologists

How will encrypting these animals help the situation? Is Schneier in on it?

Americans, again... (4, Insightful)

Create an Account (841457) | about 9 years ago | (#13749586)

...or were released by US airmen who kept them as mascots while stationed in Australia in World War II.

Am I the only American to feel vaguely embarassed to once again be seen as the descendant of a bunch of knuckleheaded yokels?

"Oh, sure, we may have released gigantic carnivores in your backyard, but we sure saved everyone's asses in WWII."

yes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749639)

Am I the only American to feel vaguely embarassed...

As a matter of fact, you are. That's why we keep you around. Like the cat in TFA, you're a rare and elusive zoological curiosity.

I do wish you wouldn't just sleep all day on that little shelf at the back of the cage, though. Couldn't you do tricks, rattle the bars, recite Maya Angelou poetry, something?

probably a hoax. (1)

deimtee (762122) | about 9 years ago | (#13749589)

The photo looks fake, like those ones where you hang something up close to the camera and pretend it is further away and bigger.
This is probably a feral cat, something there is no shortage of in the bush. By the time the DNA results come back they will have had their 15 minutes of fun.

On Meeting Big Cats (5, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | about 9 years ago | (#13749597)

I live on the west coast, (Vancouver, B.C.). I've done alot of what might be termed extreme wilderness hiking. I hike in winter where there are few, if any trails. I carry a k-bar as a utility, but otherwise no weapons. I always have a rugged SLR (Pentax MX is the best wilderness camera I've used).

I've hiked in areas with cougars, ( nagali is the indian word it means Lord of the Forest ). I've been tracked by cats. They're big kitties and like all cats they're curious. I've woken in winter and exited my tent to find paw prints up along side the perimeter of the tent, the cat having walked quietly all around the tent. I've backtracked to find a fresh kill twenty minutes back from where I had been and had not noticed a cat ( they smell like big wet dogs ).

You can talk with multitudes of wilderness pros and not meet one who has actually seen a big cat. They're next to invisible. I've meet 5. One lay a few feet from me in the dark outside the door of an 8 x 8 cabin an airborne colonel had flown into a wilderness area. When I open the door to go for wood ( the cabin had a small firebox ), the single candle that lit the cabin cast a long light out the door and onto the cat. I was carrying an axe. I dropped the axe, flew backwards into the cabin and slammed the door ( adrenelin can give you superpowers), while the cat tore out of the underbrush and sprinted into the treeline.

In my meetings with cats only once did I know I was approached as prey. Cougars don't see us as prey.

In the hundred or so years records have been kept there have only been a handfull of lethal attacks by big cats on the west coast. Interestingly nearly all have been on Vancouver Island. The theory goes that the thick sala underbrush allows the cats to get close. Almost all attacks have been by sick or old cats.

Wild animals met with knowledge and respect can usually be party to an incredible experince (my north american exceptions would be grizzilies, polar bears and wolverines, oh and skunks). I've gotten close up and personal with wolves (very rare experience, beautiful, beautiful animals) and countless bears (most black, one grizzily and her cub very very scary).

On the other hand there is near unanimous agreement that pound for pound a leopard is the most dangerous lethal killer on the planet.

Re:On Meeting Big Cats (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 9 years ago | (#13749633)

In which of the Indian languages of BC does nagali mean "cougar". That isn't what cougars are called in the languages I know, but I imagine you're talking about a different area, most likely Vancouver Island.

humor vice terry pratchett (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 9 years ago | (#13749650)

Maybe it means "your finger"?

You know...the guy points to the animal, turns and asks his Native American friend..."So what's this called?"

Doubts? (1)

jrest (539296) | about 9 years ago | (#13749599)

The retired engineer said he lugged the cat back to his camp, but put the carcass into the river after removing the tail and photographing it.
Why did he put the carcass in the river?
How do we know for sure he shot the cat in Australia?

Answers (1)

bennini (800479) | about 9 years ago | (#13749647)

Why did he put the carcass in the river?

To clean all the blood off.

How do we know for sure he shot the cat in Australia?

Because dead bodies of large animals that look like those of endangered species don't exactly pass through Customs at Schiphol airport.
Firstly, the hunter reckons his bullet blew the feline's head apart, and from the photo it really looks like there is NOTHING left of it... would a RIFLE bullet really do that much damage? I mean, if it was a shot gun, fired into it's face, then yea, but a rifle fired from behind, passing in behind the ear and THEN blowing the head apart?

If the cat is sideways (with respect to the hunter) and slightly at an angle. The bullet enters behind the shoulder (which is blocking most of the head since they walk with them hanging down), punches through into the head, then punches out the front of its face. Thus: blown apart cat head.
Secondly, rather than pack out this surely important find, he cuts off the tail and just takes that with him, I mean, if it were me, I'd be carrying the whole carcass out

He did carry the whole carcass back. Did you read the whole article? Not to mention, look at the photo where the carcass is hanging from a tree.

I am just simply confused as to what the difference between a "large cat" and a puma/leapord/lion is. The articles all start by describing that it looks like a puma but then don't give much of a description from there. From what ive always thought...a puma does qualify as a "large cat".

Red Vs Blue (2, Funny)

Shook18 (878947) | about 9 years ago | (#13749606)

"It looks like a big cat..." "What like a Puma?" "Yeah there ya go."

WW2 US Army units let their mascots free. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749610)

At the end of WW2 many US Army units in Australia turned their mascots free into the bush. It has long been wondered if enough were set free to meet and breed and if these could have included large leopeards, pumas and jaguars. I personally have never believed it but it looks like I was wrong.

Another possible source is circuses losing animals (or setting them free after they lose their licence for the animals? anything is possible).

I wouldn't be at all surprised if this cat turns out to be some kind of hybrid.

For those who are interested, a Scotsman released moose into the wilds of the South Island of New Zealand a hundred years ago and they have never been seen since. Every now and then a camper comes out of the bush with tales of a monster. An intriguing prospect.

Query. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749611)

How is this "news" interesting to nerds? It's a story about some Australian hick who killed an animal.

F.

Big badaboom (1)

broothal (186066) | about 9 years ago | (#13749618)

"The bullet entered behind the cat's shoulder and blew its head off, he said."

  That's a lot of firepower. What was he hunting? Is this a normal hunting rifle? (I reckon some of the /. readers are hunters who can elaborate)

Leopards and Pumas aren't black (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13749638)

Let's see, Pumas are a tan color with no spots, Leopards are a yellowish color with spots. The cat (?) in the picture appears to be black.

Huh?

Bull (0, Flamebait)

KidSock (150684) | about 9 years ago | (#13749651)

From the article:

The predator charged in his direction ... He was making long jumps ... On about the third jump I shot him.

Does anyone else find this "story" a little OUTRAGEOUS? If this cat was so elusive to go undetected for decades, why would the thing decide to charge at the first sight of a human? And this guy is going to have the nerve to stand his ground and pick off a big leaping agile cat with a single shot. Yeaaaaaah. Ok.

I'm reasoning the guy probably felt a little remorse for running over a peaceful magestic animal with his truck in a drunken stupur and made up this crap story to make it sound like he was defending himself. If I were the law, I'd be grilling this guy to find out if it wasn't someone's unwanted exotic pet. Here in the US animal cruelty is considered a very serious crime.

Not the only mystery big cat (3, Interesting)

riflemann (190895) | about 9 years ago | (#13749655)

Here in the Netherlands, the country's media was recently abuzz for a while over news of a puma living in the forests here. Given the tiny nation here is not much bigger than tasmania and with 16m people, it got locals rather nervous:

details at expatica [expatica.com]
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