Categories: Jaguar

Black Panther caught on video in Sydney’s North Shore?

News.com.au is probably taking the piss but they might be genuine but mistaken. They have a story about a university student capturing on video a large, black domestic cat (in my considered view) which has been described as a “black panther”. Black panthers normally refer to melanistic jaguars i.e. black jaguars. If the phrase doesn’t refer to a jaguar it refers to a leopard and occassionally a puma. All are large wild cats.

Black panther or domestic or feral cat? This is a cleaned up and annotated version of the screenshot on the news.com.au website.

The story quotes an expert who has decided that the cat in question weighs up to 20 kg. The Jaguar can weigh up to over a hundred kilograms and is certainly many times more than 20 kg. We don’t have to rely on an expert and his assessment of the weight of the animal. Visually, this cat could never be a jaguar or a leopard. It is certainly a very large domestic or feral cat. It may be semi-feral. There are many very large domestic and in Australia feral cats. They can certainly weigh 25+ pounds which is 11+ kgs.

The newspaper says that the video (which I can’t embed on this website) confirms what has long been part of Aussie folklore that there is a big black cat wandering around the urban environment. Like I said I think they are taking the piss. People have this innate fear of the big cats. I am sure that it is inherited from times when early humans genuinely had to contend with fearsome predators.

The person who captured the video footage is Alex McDonald. He said the cat was behind the San Hospital in Wahroonga and that it looked about 1 m plus long. That’s his assessment. He is saying that the cat was more than 3 feet in length, approximately. Typically, people exaggerate when they make these sort of observations at a distance. They exaggerate because they want to believe that the animal is a large big cat. Even at 3+ feet it is way too small to be a jaguar which is between 1.3 and 1.6 m in length excluding the tail.

The story is simply not credible. There is another point to make. The way that domestic or feral cats walk i.e. their gait gives away their species. The big cats walk in a very particular manner. It is slightly lumbering and less dainty. There is positively no way that this cat is walking like a jaguar or leopard.

It is surprising that the comments on the newspaper’s webpage includes some by people who actually believe that it is a big cat. I’m afraid that they are mistaken. I have never been able to confirm that any of the sightings of mysterious big cats are genuine. Not one has been proved to be true. That, too, also proves a point that these creatures do not exist in reality but in the minds of fearful people.

Link to the story.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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