Town’s people warned after sighting of a black panther.
KIERAN BANKS, Crime reporter, NT News
A BLACK PANTHER-like cat has been sighted feasting on road kill, prompting a passing motorist to call authorities because he thought it posed a danger to a nearby town.
Tourist John Kennedy spotted the 1.5m long cat 33km south of Tennant Creek on Thursday.
Mr Kennedy said he got a clear view of the jet black cat which stood knee-high and bounded into the bushland when his car approached.
He said the cat was large enough to put him off stopping to investigate the sighting.
“I’m quite wary of kangaroos on the side of the road, so I’m always looking. I’ve seen something move and I thought ‘what’s that?’” he said.
“We’re talking full sunshine in the middle of the day and there’s probably a 20m verge on the side of the road with no grass.
“I looked and I presumed there was another carcass on the side of the road. When I was about 50m from it it took off. I saw it for a good 10m to 15m, so I got a good look at it.”
At first glance, Mr Kennedy thought the animal he was gazing at was a dingo.
But as he got closer its cat-like features became clearer.
“The tale was about two-foot long and the only way I can describe it is very catlike, the head was very catlike. It was dark in colour as in basically black.
“It was definitely long. A dog is three to four foot and this was five or six foot long. It was down like a cat on its haunches and about to run. It would have stood a bit above your knee.”
Mr Kennedy said he called police because the large cat was close to the Tennant Creek township.
“The main reason I told the police was because it was only 30km out of town and if it has escaped from somewhere and people could be in danger.
“I just felt if they got another sighting they could do something about it or track it.”
Two years ago, a panther-like creature was spotted roaming the banks of the Victoria River.
Although the sightings are two years and 550km apart, Mr Kennedy believes the panther captured in the photo was “very similar” to the big cat he saw.
Alien big cats (ABC) as they are known have been seen all over Australia, except perhaps Tasmania.
Here are some of them in this Animal X story.