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Ministry of Agriculture investigators and a big cat expert from Orana Wildlife Park arrived in Mid Canterbury today in search of the panther-like creature spotted roaming farmland last week.
“It is really hard to see how a giant cat could have got into the Ashburton wild, but MAF needed to take it seriously,” MAF exotic animal response co-ordinator Amelia Pascoe said.
Originally posted by MaskedAvatar
This is happening in a country where within the past decade the lead story on 'Crimewatch' one night was about a camera that someone left behind on a train, that never got returned to the owner...
When people think of Mid Canterbury they think of its snow-capped mountains, rolling hills and golden plains, but now Mid Canterbury has a new claim to fame.
An unsolved mystery to consume residents and tourists alike.
The big question is, is there a panther-like creature in our midst?
Mid-Canterbury's black panther has come back.
Several people have sighted what they say was a panther around the Ashburton area since 2001.
Now a man walking his dog has reported seeing the animal at the PPCS meatworks in Fairton, 8km north of Ashburton.
Pat Hannan was out with his dog Brandy on Sunday morning when he stumbled upon the black cat.
"I saw it behind a fence near the stock yards at the plant. I thought it was a dog at the start but then I saw the tail and had another look and it was definitely not a dog or cat or possum or anything like that."
Mr Hannan said the panther was around one metre tall and its tail was its most defining feature. "It [the tail] was about as long as its body."
The panther was first spotted near Alford Forest in 2001. It reappeared in October when stock truck driver Chad Stewart saw what appeared to be the phantom cat on a property in Mayfield, 35km northwest of Ashburton
Big cat surfaces in Queenstown
The Mayfield panther may have family – and one of its relatives could be holidaying in Queenstown.
The Ashburton Guardian received an email from Grant Carter, an Australian visitor to Queenstown, after he spotted a “big cat” from his hotel room last week.
“Living in Australia, I know what a possum looks like, and what size feral cats can grow to.
“This was definitely something different.”
Stock-truck driver Chad Stewart got the fright of his life last Friday when he went to drop off stock at the Mayfield property of Blair and Sarah Gallagher – he saw what he thinks was a big cat, what some people would call a black panther.
As Mr Stewart drove into the sheep yards he noticed a large black animal sitting at the bottom of the hill, right beside the yards.
At first he thought it was a dog, but then realised its tail was too long.
He watched it for about five minutes, and then it took off up the hill, stopped half way before slinking out of sight.
“Initially I thought I was seeing things, it’s not every day that you see a big black cat running up a hill,” he said.
Once he got over the shock, Mr Stewart was convinced of what he saw.
“I am pretty sure it was a black panther – not that I am a big cat expert, but it definitely wasn’t a dog.”