2 November 2003

Big cats not a tall tale

A State Government inquiry has found it is 'more likely than not' a colony of 'big cats' is roaming Sydney's outskirts and beyond.

The revelations are the result of a fresh four-month investigation into the 'black panther phenomenon' which for years has plagued residents across Sydney's west, north-west, Richmond, the Blue Mountains and Lithgow.

While National Parks and Wildlife officials are yet to implement a positive course of action, a senior source confirmed last night a big cat expert had been contacted with a view to future work.

He said: 'While we still haven't got conclusive evidence that the creature exists, compiled evidence points strongly to the fact that it does.'

The source added: 'If and when an expert is commissioned, the first aim would be to identify exactly what sort of animal it is. The second would be to ascertain how many there might be.'

Although big cat sightings across NSW date back more than 100 years, speculation intensified in May 2001 when a successful Freedom of Information request revealed the NSW Government had been maintaining a secret file on the creature.

It also revealed wildlife hierarchy were so concerned about the potential threat to humans that they commissioned big cat expert Dr Johannes Bauer to evaluate what had previously been deemed unthinkable.

Wow, Sydney really does have everything. Next we find yowies. Then UFOs. Then Iraq's WMDS.

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