Geelong Advertiser, June 30, 2010
by Danny Lannen
CLINICAL animal kills in the Otways feature amid a mountain of testimonies in a ground-breaking book pointing to the existence of big cats in Australia.
Up to 15 accounts from the Otways region and more from Winchelsea, Ballarat, Mortlake and the Grampians pack the 434-page book, which has been almost 10 years in the making.
Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers has a national focus but researcher and co-author Michael Williams said up to 70 per cent of its material was Victoria-based.
"I cannot believe the amount of information that comes out of there (Victoria) and we could not have done this book if all of those farmers and hunters and others hadn't started giving us their information, photos, diaries and all the contacts,'' Mr Williams said.
He said dog trappers with 40 years' experience had testified during the collating of research, asserting that dogs could never have killed stock or fauna found killed in paddocks or bush.
“They show photos that dog predation looks nothing like the surgical industrial vacuum cleaner job these big cats are doing,” he said.
The book, co-written by journalist Rebecca Lang, details theories on big cats being released into the Australian wild, including several documented road accidents involving circus vehicles.
Mr Williams said Australian Big Cats was independently published and on sale for $35. Details at www.australianbigcats.com.au