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Town’s people warned after sighting of a black panther

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.

black panthers

These panther-like creatures were spotted roaming the banks of the Victoria River two years ago. PICTURE: Supplied

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.

Originally published as ‘Territory panther’ scares passing motorist

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.

 




Bones of a giant Moa bird found

bones of giant moa bird found

Giant bird bones found



Bones of a giant Moa bird found

By News from Elsewhere…
…as found by BBC Monitoring

Contractors at a site in southern New Zealand have made an unexpected find while digging a trench – dozens of bones belonging to a long-extinct species of giant bird.

Workers spotted the bones during excavations in an area of South Canterbury which was once swamp land, the Stuff.co.nz website reports. They’ve been identified as belonging to a female South Island giant moa, an enormous flightless bird which roamed the area for millennia. One of the bones is thought to belong to a smaller male moa.

Stumbling upon moa bones is increasingly rare, according to South Canterbury Museum director Philip Howe. “This is quite a significant find because in this day and age we’re not finding moa bones all round the place like people did maybe 100 years ago,” he tells the site. “A discovery is quite a chance thing – it’s not something you can just hope to go out and find.”

Project manager Dave Sutton says the small size of the trench dug by his team made the discovery even more unlikely. “It’s not every day you dig a hole and find a moa,” he says. “Only one small hole and this is the result.”

Among the nine species of moa, the largest stood at about 2m (6.5ft) tall and weighed a whopping 250kg (550lb), while others were closer to the size of a turkey. Unlike other flightless birds, moa had lost all trace of ever having wings. They were hunted to extinction after Polynesian colonists arrived in New Zealand around AD1300.

How the newly excavated moa met their end isn’t clear. But Mr Howe says finding remains of both a male and female “begs the question: was this the tragic outcome of a Sunday picnic at the swamp with the moa family?”

Bones of giant bird

Moa

Moa, extinct or not?

The moa is thought to have been eaten to extinction by New Zealand’s Maori people. But there are those who disagree. Like the people who claim to have seen one. Here’s a story of two me who claim to have seen a moa on New Zealand’s South Island.




Video of rare giant squid in Japanese harbour




Video of rare giant squid in Japanese harbour

A giant squid provided a rare treat for onlookers in Toyama Bay when one swam into the harbour.
The 3.7m (12ft) cephalopod was much smaller than the 13m they can grow to.

It spent several hours in the harbour on Christmas Eve and was filmed by local divers.

Professional underwater cameraman Takayoshi Kojima told the BBC he rushed to the harbour when a marina manager called and he helped guide the squid to the exit to the sea, where it finally disappeared.

Japanese researchers took pictures of the elusive creature hunting 900m down, enveloping its prey by coiling its tentacles into a ball.

octopus

giant squid

The images show giant squid, known as Architeuthis, are more vigorous hunters than has been supposed.

The images, captured in the Pacific Ocean, appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Documentary companies have invested millions of dollars trying to film adult giant squid in their natural environment. These efforts have met with little success – though one team has managed to capture a juvenile on film.

Japanese fishermen have taken snaps of an adult at the surface but, until now, no one had obtained images of the animal in its deep-sea hunting grounds.

Slippery customer

In their efforts to photograph the huge cephalopod, Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori, have been using a camera and depth recorder attached to a long-line, which they lower into the sea from their research vessel.

Below the camera, they suspend a weighted jig – a set of ganged hooks to snag the squid – along with a single Japanese common squid as bait and an odour lure consisting of chopped-up shrimps.

At 0915 local time on 30 September 2004, they struck lucky. At a depth close to 1km in waters off Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, an 8m-long Architeuthis wrapped its long tentacles around the bait, snagging one of them on the jig.

Kubodera and Mori took more than 550 images of the giant squid as it made repeated attempts to detach itself.

The pictures show the squid spreading its arms, enveloping the long-line and swimming away in its efforts to struggle free.

Finally, four hours and 13 minutes after it was first snagged, the attached tentacle broke off, allowing the squid to escape. The researchers retrieved a 5.5m portion with the line.

Severed appendage

“It was exciting to get a live Architeuthis tentacle. It was still functioning when we got it on the boat,” Dr Kubodera told BBC News.

tentacle

giant squid tentacle

The large suckers repeatedly gripped the boat deck – and Dr Kubodera’s fingers when he prodded the severed appendage.

“The grip wasn’t as strong as I expected; it felt sticky,” he explained.

But while other researchers have suggested that Architeuthis is a rather sluggish creature, the images show it is in fact an energetic predator.

Dr Steve O’Shea, of the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, told the BBC News website that he was extremely pleased for the researchers.

Kubodera, he said, had “ever-so-quietly been working away in the background on this for a number of years”.

And Dr O’Shea, a world renowned expert on giant squid, added: “From the point of view of the public, who believe this squid is the largest, the meanest, most aggressive squid that we have – it is hugely significant.”

Trawling threat

The Auckland-based researcher said now that the squid had been caught on camera, researchers could focus on other, lesser known squid species and on conservation.

Bottom-trawling by fisheries is destroying squid egg masses on the seabed, Dr O’Shea claimed. Evidence for this comes from an efficient squid predator – the sperm whale.

“Five of the species of squid that were staple in the diet of the sperm whale are recognised in New Zealand as threatened solely as a consequence of the effects of deep-sea bottom-trawling.”

“[Sperm whales] are returning from the Antarctic on their historic migratory route to one of the richest regions on Earth in terms of squid diversity. But the larder is bare and the poor things are washing up on the beaches here starved.”

The giant squid is by no means the largest known. Several other species, including the colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are thought to grow larger.





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