Legendary 'panther' terrorises Fraser Coast locals
WHEN he heard his dog madly barking in the middle of the night, James Fowler went outside his Glenwood home to investigate.
There, he came face-to-face with a beast which unbeknown to him, was somewhat of a local legend.
His torch light revealed a monster cat, about 1.25m in length covered in black shiny fur with razor sharp teeth which he estimated to be at least one-and-a-half inches long.
He now firmly believes it was the Glenwood Panther, which, over the decades, has been touted as the descendant of a big cat which escaped from the circus in the late 1800s and bred with local feral cats.
James, 16, told the Chronicle the site of the monstrous cat genuinely made him fear for his life.
"It looked like it was ready to pounce," James said.
"I don't run from anything, but I ran from it."
James said even Buffy, his tough guard dog, "s*** herself" when confronted by the intruder.
He was educated on the Glenwood Panther, a mysterious feline which is said to prowl through woods behind Tiaro, when he told others of the experience.
He said he did not believe it was an ordinary feral cat, because "cats don't get that big".
The encounter, which lasted about 30 seconds, happened on Tuesday about 1am.
James said he could hear the animal growling for several hours.
"It had a really high-pitched distinctive sound," James said.
"I wish I had seen its claws."
James, who says the 'panther' should be shot before someone is hurt, thinks he also saw a smaller version of the panther, potentially its kitten, earlier in the night.
He's worried there are more out there.
His partner's mum, Carlla Larkin, said her family had lived in the region since 1980 and despite hearing about it over the years, previously believed it was a myth.
They said they contacted authorities after the sighting, including police and the Fraser Coast Regional Council to report the animal, but claim they weren't believed.
They'll be keeping their pets inside for the time being for safety.
But they're not the only ones who have had an encounter with the Glenwood Panther.
A sighting near Mungar of a "big cat" that was "dark in colour" with a "very long tail" was reported last month, as listed on the Australian Big Cat Research Group website which is dedicated to documenting similar sightings.
There are also fears the panther may have been responsible for a feral cat attack which left a Gympie truckie bloodied and bruised.
It was also black, with sleek, shiny fur.
The Gympie region has previously been dubbed a Queensland hotspot for big cat sightings by former Australia Zoo handler Vaughan King.
A spokeswoman for Gympie Regional Council told the Chronicle there had been two sightings of big cats reported to officers in the past year.
"Reports have described the animal as being "as a large black cat" and "like a panther"," a council spokesman said.
"Apart from occasional reported sightings, council has not been able to collect evidence or images of such animals in the Gympie region and therefore there is no immediate cause for alarm."