Re: [Fwd: [BIRDING-AUS] Black Panther or Big Feral cat in Blue Mtns NS

To: Brian Fleming <>
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [BIRDING-AUS] Black Panther or Big Feral cat in Blue Mtns NSW]
From: John Clifton-Everest <>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 16:36:47 +1000
As as lover of lynxes and former resident of Barnet, I have to come in on
this one, even though it is not very birdy. The lynx (or 'ounce' to give it
its original, Shakespearean name) is now virtually extinct in Western
Europe.  A few remain in Scandinavia, and there are some in Slovakia and
other points to the East.  I am not sure about Spain.  Its natural prey
certainly included birds, but much more it lived on mammals up to the size of
roe-deer.  There is a movement in central Europe for re-introducing the lynx,
just as the beaver was so successfully re-introduced, and indeed some lynx
have been released, I believe, in controlled conditions in Switzerland.  A
main argument used for doing so ? and a particularly good one for use against
those who believe their chooks and family pets would no longer be safe ? is
that they would do something about the plague of roedeer.  In Germany there
are now believed to be more roe-deer than people, of which there are some 80
million.  The situation is similar in many adjoining countries. Roedeer are
far in excess of what is deemed a 'natural' population (comparison  is made
with Russia), because modern farming techniques and the eradication of
predators, wolves and lynxes, favour them so. The 'hunters' lobby' has not
helped either in keeping the numbers down.  They do immense damage to crops
and to the regeneration of woodland in particular, so that, cute as they are,
I suspect they do more harm to birds through habitat-destruction than ever a
modest population of lynxes would by eating the odd pheasant.  The argument
rests less on the roedeer getting eaten, than their being frightened out of
the forests in winter.  They only survive the winter in such numbers by being
free to browse the young growth in the woods.
>From what I remember of Barnet and Golders Green, the 'beast of Barnet'
probably made a nice living out of feral pigeons, though it doubtless
preferred a nice haunch of roebuck when it got one ? perhaps not so
John Clifton-Everest

Brian Fleming wrote:

> Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Black Panther or Big Feral cat in Blue Mtns NSW
> Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 17:41:51 +1000
> From: Brian Fleming <>
> To: 
> References: <>
> I missed out on this Panther story on A Current Affair, but around
> Whittlesea in Victoria many people believe there are panthers or pumas
> in the vicinity. Whatever it is screams from trees at night, frightens
> dogs and farmstock, and leaves tracks at times. Those who have heard it
> say it doesn't sound like a Barking Owl's screams either.
> I have seen skins of Feral Cats which were of most impressive size, even
> given that a cat wears its skin fairly loose, so that the skin always
> looks larger than its owner did in life. The feral cats I have heard
> about were described as very big indeed - about twice the size of
> domestic puss. A friend who shot one told me that it was 'almost too
> heavy to lift in both arms.' Unfortunately his photos didn't come out
> and the skin was badly damaged by shot.
> However, not all these stories are baseless. In North London (UK) last
> week or so, the mysterious 'beast of Barnet' was finally captured. There
> had been reports for about 10 years of a 'panther' seen in headlights
> etc. but they were disbelieved until the capture of a female adult
> European Lynx at Golders Green. Now in the London Zoo. A report appeared
> in the Melbourne'Age.' Given the British tendency for very odd pets and
> private zoos, as well as public ones, it's not so very unlikely. But I
> wonder what it was living on all this time - rabbits? birds? stray cats?
> Anthea Fleming in Melbourne

Associate Professor John M. Clifton-Everest
Department of Germanic Studies
University of Sydney
(61) (2) 9351 2262
Fax (61) (2) 9351 5318

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