The legend of the Illawarra’s infamous ‘panther’ continues with another sighting of the elusive creature on Good Friday.
An Austinmer father and his teenage son were driving around doing their usual surf check about 8am before heading home.
They drove down Buttenshaw Drive and were in between Middle Heights Road and Buttenshaw Place when they spotted the creature on the escarpment side of the road, they told the Mercury on Friday.
“There’s no question to my mind in what I saw,” the man said.
“We both looked at each other and it was totally it.”
He said dozens of bushwalkers were taking advantage of the nearby Sublime Point walking track, which he believes the panther frequents.
The last time the legendary feline was spotted was in October last year when Albion Park man Alex Vourliotis and his partner Tanaya Webb said they saw it at Coalcliff.
The Illawarra and surrounds have produced sporadic big cat sightings over the years, including sightings at Austinmer’s Sublime Point track in 2014 and 2015 and along the Wodi Wodi track near Stanwell Park.
The sightings – and numerous others along the state’s east coast – have given rise to theories about escaped circus animals and one-time exotic pets.
A less colourful theory – favoured by some farmers, in particular – is that the sightings are of feral cats that have grown far bigger than the household variety of cat.