Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 1st, 2008
Lake Elizabeth in the Otway forest.
If there is one thing that is predictable, it is that most new years will open with a published report of a mystery cat sighting, usually in the UK or Australia. Australia didn’t let us down this year.
Of course, this is different than the actual first eyewitness account of the year, which might take a few days to be published. For all we know, there might have been more pterodactyl sightings last night in Washington State.
The Great Otway National Park is a national park in Victoria (Australia), 162 km southwest of Melbourne. The 103 km² park was declared in 2004 when Otway National Park, Angahook-Lorne State Park, Carlisle State Park, Melba Gully State Park, areas of the Otway State forest and a number of Crown Land reserves were combined into one park. The Great Otway National Park is notable for its diverse range of landscapes and vegetation types. The nearby Otway Ranges offer good access to beaches and to the Otway forest.
A Koala climbing a tree in the Great Otway National Park.
The first published sighting of 2008 seems to have occurred in the Otway forest a few days ago, late in 2007. Here is the account, which is short and to the point:
Lorne visitor Simon Raik-Allen said he would think twice about hiking in Otway forest after having seen a puma-like cat near Erskine Falls.
Mr Raik-Allen said he was startled by the sighting 100 metres away in clear conditions on Erskine Falls Road at 5.30am.
“When I saw it I thought what the hell is a panther doing in Australia,” Mr Raik-Allen said.
He estimated the cat, with long looping tail, was about 1.5 metres long and half a metre high. ~ Danny Lannen, reporter, “Big cat sighting in Otways,” Geelong Advertiser, Australia, January 1, 2007.
Credit to Chad Arment for passing this one along.