Black Cat (possible Panther Cub) Spotted In Hanmer Springs Forest
Videographer Bare Kiwi and double amputee Mark Inglis (of Mt Everest fame) were filming in Hanmer Springs Heritage Forest this afternoon when they spotted a large black cat on a trail up ahead.
The sighting happened around 2pm on Friday, 27 November 2020 and has the potential to further fuel rumours that there are wild panthers or pumas in Canterbury.
In October, a mountain biker spotted a large black cat on the Perseverance biking trail.
Bare Kiwi says he was interviewing Mark Inglis, who has built a new mountain bike track, The Southern Cross, when he spotted the cat.
“It was about 50-metres away, strolling in the other direction but it sat down, turned and looked into my soul. It was a very emotional experience. I was fearing for my life – it was a very close call.”
Asked to describe the beast, Bare Kiwi says it was about the size of a large house cat.
“That means it’s likely to be a panther cub as opposed to a panther – it was hard to tell. Because I was shaking and scared and only had an iPhone, the footage is not great.”
Double amputee Mark Inglis says he thought Bare Kiwi was pulling his leg when he said there the black cat was up ahead.
“But I looked and there it was - my first thought was ‘if that’s the cub, how big is the mother?’,” says Mark.
Mark works for Hurunui Trails which creates and maintains the mountain bike and walking tracks in the forest and says this afternoon’s experience has made him think twice.
“I certainly won’t go into the forest after dark anymore.”
Hurunui Tourism Marketing Manager Shane Adcock says the tourism authority is confident the forest is still a safe place for visitors.
“The footage is pretty poor so it is hard to ascertain whether it is a feline or a walking blob. But to be safe, we’ve alerted local police and will consider whether to nominate Bare Kiwi and Mark Inglis for a bravery award.”
“The forest is used by hundreds of thousands of people every year and we’ve never had a reported panther attack. On Monday, we’ll discuss whether to ask Dr Ashley Bloomfield to assess the risk to public health but we’re confident visitors to the forest will be safe over the weekend,” laughs Shane.
You can download the video here.