Thursday, January 20, 2005

Big Cat Search Gets Under Way
Warrnambool Standard - Victoria January 18, 2005

A SEARCH for big cats and thylacines in the Otways is under way using new technology from the US.

Independent researcher Michael Moss, of Richmond, is using what is known as a "deer-cam" to try and get proof that Tasmanian tigers and panthers call the large national park home.

Mr Moss said the camera was triggered by body heat and had been set up in the Birregurra area for about six weeks.

So far the only pictures taken have been of fallow deer and wallabies, but he remained confident. "Last year around March in the Otways I was contacted by a farming couple who had sightings in their area of a black panther," Mr Moss said.

It was not the first time a big cat had been seen in that region in early autumn so Mr Moss planned to relocate the camera near the farm, having failed to catch the creature with a trap last year.

"I'm quietly confident Ð there's no reason why it won't come into the area again," he said.

There are also plans to use the heat-triggered camera in the Simpson-Kennedys Creek area soon to follow up on thylacine sightings. "Because I've only got one camera, a lot of people think I'm looking for a needle in a haystack," Mr Moss said.

"These creatures are definitely here."