Giant cat sighted near border|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|08/01/08 at 16:42:03|richard_f|xx|0|86.164.187.26|From The Border Watch (Mount Gambier, S. Austral.): 24 July 2008
Giant cat sighted near border
CHRIS OLDFIELD

Monster cats around the South East and Western Victoria are on the prowl,
leaving behind footprints and skeletons of animals mauled to death with the
heart, liver and lungs eaten first.

Around the size of Golden Retrievers, the big cats can be black or tan and
usually prowl alone, except in mating season.

Farmers in the region have reported hearing and tracking the big cats which
are "as quick as lightning" and too fast for a camera or shotgun.

Meanwhile, other residents are spotting the giant felines on roadsides.

Mount Gambier's Angela Beltakis saw a big cat on the roadside last summer
near the Victorian border, but did not mention it to anyone.

However, after seeing a big cat again last weekend, she spoke out for the
first time.

"I have a sister in Warrnambool and my young daughters and I travel over
regularly to visit with her and her family," Mrs Beltakis said.

"On the way home last summer while scanning for kangaroos on the stretch of
road approaching and beyond the Victorian SA border, at around 8.30 pm I was
sure that I saw a large black cat.

"Similar in size to my Golden Retriever, (it was) crouching on the forest
edge to my left.

"I thought that it was weird but put it out of my mind, never mentioning it
to anyone.

"I have made several trips since then, however, on the weekend of the 21st
of June, travelling at the same time, I saw it again . to my left and in
approximately the same area.

"This time I was sure (it was a big cat).

"I mentioned it to my husband, who completely laughed it off - I never
mentioned it to anyone else.

"My other sister (Tiffany) who lives here in Mount Gambier visited with our
Warrnambool sister Monday-week ago, travelling home at the same time as I
usually do."

Mrs Beltakis said her sister said it might sound crazy "but I was wondering
if you have ever seen a really big cat where the 'roos usually are near the
border"?

"I just about fell off my chair - and now my husband wasn't laughing at me
anymore," Mrs Beltakis said.

From information sought by her husband, Mrs Beltakis soon learned of a fox
shooter who talked of similar sightings and was aware of sheep killed in a
different manner to foxes.

Mumbannar farmer Andrew Hines said yesterday he was aware of farmers who had
calves and sheep killed by big cats further north.

"One photo is of a heifer on a frosty morning like this morning with big
claw marks," Mr Hines said.

Meanwhile another farmer, who did not wish to be named, said he and his wife
did not go outside the house at night.

"I've lost about 50 to 60 lambs and three or four cattle," the farmer said.

"My wife has been growled at - they make a big roaring sound.

"I've seen them and had a camera and a gun - but they are too quick and I
can't get anything.

"I don't really tell anyone - people think you are mad, a bit weird, you
know, but they are definitely out there.

"We haven't had as much trouble since we got some dogs from a bloke up at
Euroa - fox hounds.

"But they'll be back. I've just bought an infra-red camera, I'm determined
to get a photo of one."



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