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.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.