9 August 2010, JellyBean @ 10:46 am

TWO steaks, a can of Whiskas and a recording of a cat purr – here’s how to hunt a photo-shy big cat.

Depsite the lack of any physical evidence of the Blue Mountains panther, locals have blamed the cat for hundreds of livestock deaths.

As one believer put it: “The cats are out there – and they’re breeding.”

Farmers, wildlife rangers and conspiracy theorists take photos of scratchings on trees and collect scat samples, hairs and “panther paws” moulds.

There have been more than 460 sightings in the Hawkesbury since 2001, making it the big cat capital of Australia, and to help in our quest we met with five local “experts” – a politician, an author, a big cat hunter, a witness and a political activist.

Just like former premier Nathan Rees, Hawkesbury Council mayor Bart Bassett is a believer.

“There have been too many sightings by too many reputable people for it not to be true,” Mr Bassett said.

“We’re talking about a dentist, a retired magistrate and actual Department of Primary Industries staff.”

Our search takes us into the Grose Valley, where there have been more than 64 sightings of the black cat.

Read the full article: News.com.au

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