FOUND IT? A large black cat was caught on camera at a Miva property by Wendy and Glenn Elsley, but they are not convinced it is the region's legendary black panther. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera.
FOUND IT? A large black cat was caught on camera at a Miva property by Wendy and Glenn Elsley, but they are not convinced it is the region's legendary black panther. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera. Contributed

NEW EVIDENCE: Woman snaps 'big cat' photos near Gympie

HAS Gympie's legendary black panther finally been found?

Panther sightings in the region are legendary, and one Gympie family may have caught the culprit - although they are not convinced.

While Wendy and Glenn Elsley set a trail camera up on their Miva property to track wild dogs, it instead caught on film a very large, very healthy and very black cat.

But while many might be quick to point at the pictures as vindication, Mrs Elsley is not so sure.

"I really do think it's just a feral cat. I certainly don't think I've caught the black panther," she said.

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More likely it was a a sixth or seventh-generation descendant of a dumped domestic, she said. But she "wouldn't be surprised" to find it was the culprit in many black panther sightings.

"It is huge."

And so is the domain she believes it prowls; she said one neighbour an eight-minute drive up the road had seen a similar feline in the past.

Mrs Elsley said she was unsure of exactly when the cat had appeared, as the camera's time stamp had not been accurately set by her husband.

While she could not estimate a size, she said a good indication might be found in that the camera was located 50cm above the ground.

 

Another image snapped by the Elsleys. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera.
Another image snapped by the Elsleys. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera. Contributed

"It's the first time we've seen this sized cat," she said. "It's eating a lot to be that healthy.

"You look at a picture (on the camera) of a wild dog and they look scrawny."

After capturing the cat snaps last week, Mrs Elsley was so impressed by its size and health that she posted them online.

She was surprised by the response, with more than 280 comments made under the images within 12 hours.

It also included several offers to hunt and shoot the cat, an option she did not support.

 

Another image snapped by the Elsleys. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera.
Another image snapped by the Elsleys. Note: while the timestamp says 2014, Mrs Elsley said it has not been set up on the camera. Contributed

"He's definitely a beautiful animal," she said. "I don't want people to come and shoot it.

"We don't need crazies going out there and going crazy.

"It could be gone already."

While panther sightings have been reported in the region for at least 60 years, there have been several in the past few months.

In early June Kybong's Adam Whitehouse was attacked by a big black cat when he stepped onto his veranda for a smoke.

A fortnight later Glenwood resident James Fowler said he came outside when he heard his dog madly barking, only to come face-to-face with a cat he described as 1.25m long.

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