On the prowl
Documentary The Hunt follows folklore of big cat sightings in the Hills.
TALES of big cats roaming the bush are deeply ingrained in Hills folklore.
Still to this day no one has successfully documented a panther in the wild, despite thousands of alleged sightings.
Now a new documentary titled The Hunt is following big cat hunters Simon Townsend and John Turner on their journey to prove big cats’ existence in Australia.
The film explores the potential origins of these animals in Australia, as well as investigating the sightings, photos and DNA samples collected along the journey.
Joining the team on the prowl for proof is former Kalamunda resident Vaughan King, founder of the Australian Big Cat Research Group, who believes “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that big cats are in the Hills.
Mr King said thermal imaging drones and motion-activated camera traps were being used by filmmakers to capture proof of the big cats.
“We were out in the west last month, looking into a number of recent reports of big cat sightings,” he said.
“We are searching a fairly extensive area from Chidlow down to Collie and everywhere in between.
“We will be returning over the coming months to check on our camera traps, as well as engage the use of thermal drone/UAV as part of aerial surveying – which is the first time this has been done in Australia in the search for big cat populations.
“It’s an exciting project to say the least.”
Mr King said the Darling Scarp provided prime habitat not only for feral cats but big cats such as cougars and panthers.
He said documented sightings pointed to a healthy, established population of cougars and panthers, and possibly black leopards, surviving and thriving in outer lying areas of Perth, including Yanchep.
Former Hills resident Vaughan King is searching for proof big cats exist in the Hills.