'One in a million' big cat sighting near Gympie
AFTER months of quiet in the shadows, another big cat sighting has put the spotlight back on the Gympie region.
And this time it's a 'one in a million' sighting, according to big cat chaser Vaughan King.
Last night, a woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was left shaken after a large, black cat-like animal crossed her path while driving on a dirt track in the Toolara Forest at Tin Can Bay.
The animal, who she described as glossy, sleek and larger than a wolfhound, caught her attention at 1am when its green eyes gleamed in her car headlights.
Slowly walking across the road, it stopped to watch the woman before flicking its tail and disappearing into the grass.
The woman, who was reluctant to tell of her experience reported it to the Australian Big Cat Research Group website.
"I am seriously freaked out right now, this is akin to alien abduction as far as I'm concerned," the woman wrote.
"I wish I had taken a photo, I think I'm still in shock.
"Amazing and terrifying at the same time."
The website's founder Mr King said the woman's description of the animal, especially the eye colour, is consistent with black panthers.
"It was definitely a cat, the way it moved wasn't dog like at all. It had a sinuous grace that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it," the woman said.
"The way it moved was incredible - it seemed to judge my speed and walked across with no hurry."
The big cat researcher said usually only males act in a confident manner.
"The males are the ones who are aware of their size, their strength and are almost arrogant in the way they act."
He said it sounded like the animal was not fazed by the approaching car.
"Those sightings are one in a million in Australia, but they do happen," he said.
He said it is possible the big cat is still in the area.
"A breeding male is always going to be patrolling its territory," he said.
But added its exact location now is the million dollar question.
The former Australia Zoo big cat handler said while areas in Victoria and New South Wales are dominating the reported big cat sightings in Australia, as a Sunshine Coast resident, he'd love to prove their in his own back yard.
Mr King's interest in Gympie was sparked last year when a leopard was reportedly sighted near Rainbow Beach in April, which led to further reports around the region.
"I think it's only a matter of time before someone gets definitive evidence of one of these animals," he said.
Mr King will be filming in Victoria later this year for upcoming documentary The Hunt, which probes the nation's big cat phenomenon.