Has The Government Covered-Up The Blue Mountains Panther?
Somebody call X-Files!
Are we in the middle of a government cover-up when it comes to the infamous Blue Mountains Panther???
It's been revealed that not one, but TWO inquiries into the its existence found there was "most likely" a big cat living in Western Sydney, but they were never released publicly - sparking claims of a possible cover up.
There have been hundreds of sightings of a big cat for well over a century, but there has never been any conclusive evidence.
A report commissioned by the Department of Primary Industries in 1999 said there was "most likely" a "large feline predator" in NSW - "difficult as it seems to accept".
The report was written by wildlife ecologist Johannes Bauer, who revealed to the ABC that the DPI's interest in the panther was linked to any possible liability.
"They were worried something might happen and because they hadn't taken it serious that someone might take them to court," he said.
He revealed the site of the alleged sightings was "really quite staggering".
A second DPI report found that the "free-ranging, exotic, large cats in New South Wales... seems more likely than not on available evidence".
A secret report in 2008 has led those who believe the panther's existence claim there has been a cover up.
"There is no scientific evidence found during this review that conclusively proves the presence of free ranging exotic large cats in NSW, but a presence cannot be discounted, and it seems more likely than not on available evidence that such animals do exist in NSW," the report said.
This finding was never released publicly, and another report a year later appeared to contradict earlier findings.
"Whilst information has been provided, there is still nothing to conclusively say that a large black cat exists," it said.
Author of Australia Big Cats, Mike Williams wants to know why the two reports were carried out so close together.
Steven Musier claims he filmed a large feline near Cox's River in the Blue Mountains over the weekend. He said it was "definitely not a feral cat" and "as wide as the bonnet on my ute".
"We got out and started filming it, it wasn't a domestic cat gone feral, it was much bigger than that, probably five times that size."