On the prowl

Hills Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.