Sceptics news letter

I recently found a 2003 Australian sceptics news letter which was very interesting reading.One section was on Australian Big cats.I thought I would correct a few mistakes and post it here.

> you will find reports of spotted or striped cats >to be rare to the point of non-existence. This should tell us >something.
It tells us that the majority of cats that are reported as being large, are not coming in moggie colouration.

>As the most common candidates for sighting reports average 90 -120 Kg when fully >grown
False.There are many variations in sizes of leopards/pumas for instance.
I know of a puma that is about 30kg full grown.

> but there should be many more to sustain just one large cat.
But maybe there have been and you have not contacted the right people.Secondly..if the animals exist, and their predation patterns effect native animals in the whole..then there would be little knowledge of that in the public sector anyway.

>Most of them attack the neck, closing off the airway,
>bringing death by asphyxiation. some species in some kills.But..they eat differently to canids.Their kill pattern does not look a thing like a canid/vulpes vulpes kill site.

>Sighting myths
All scientists and "qualified" people who claim to see these animals that are not supposed to exist are disregarded there is no problem there .

> is tightly regulated, it seems pretty unlikely that, if one of our major zoos did >manage to lose a big cat during recent
>years, it would remain a secret

If your statement is even correct for now days, find the circus that reported the lioness found under a bridge outside Broken Hill in 1985 and shot dead by police.
Big cats in circuses have been here since about the 1880`s.
The obvious potential source of some reports is unreported escapes over the last 100 years.
They didnt report it when the modern regulations were made iron clad...ergo..the past if open to question.

>This feeling is further enhanced by the conspiratorial tone taken in all too many >of them; that governments know very well that there are Big Black Cats Out There >and they are keeping this knowledge from the public.

All govt staff in dpi /zoo who state"I have been asked not to say anything on this" are just lying.Problem solved.
Why does/did the NSW ag dept accept secondary evidence for analysis yet do not accept any analysis that says "large felid"/large carnivore..not dog or fox" etc.
The only two "studies" done on the chance of large felids in Australia were done by Dr Johannes Bauer, who has wide experience in large cat surveys overseas, concluded "difficult as it seems to accept, the most likely explanation of the evidence is the presence of a large feline predator".And The Grampians study by Professor John henry "This population of big cats most probably dates from March 1942 and had, as its original location, the Grampians mountain ranges" .

>And if by some circumstance a breeding pair of these cats had escaped, then the >majority of their offspring would also be spotted
Only if one parent is melanistic.If both parents are melanistic..then all the offspring are as well.

>large animals sometimes do get loose and we have been told of three cases of Lions >escaping from confinement in recent years, and having been shot. None of these >escapes was covered up.
So..some cases that you are aware of were reported..then all cases that you are unaware must have been as well.
Isnt that some form of logical fallacy.?

>tend to mention throats or flanks being “ripped out” and of carcasses being left — >this is not normal Big Cat behaviour.
And the flank attack,licked clean kill sites are not canid either which leaves which native animal.?
The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment footage of flank "attacked" cattle was shown on tv and was filmed only because it was not a dog attack.

>they do not kill for “sport”.
None of the examples I am talking about, or you are referring to, are examples of "sport".But.if you extrapolate normal f.cattus behaviour, then a form of larger felid may well engage in "sport".

>Paw prints are also sometimes cited as evidence of BCs, but many of them >mention “claw marks”.Cats do not walk around with their claws exposed, though dogs >do.
They may well not..but the substrate determines if the claws actually show.I have several spoor copies here of leopards/tigers etc..and most do not show a decent claw if any claw at all.

>Cat and dog paw prints are not really alike,
Exactly..thats why as secondary evidence, when they have been id as "felid" by authority figures it is very interesting.

> under ideal viewing conditions.
Interesting..but some people would always argue that no matter what the viewing conditions, if people make outrageous claims..then the conditions must have been far from ideal.

> Could it be that we are conditioned by our culture to see such things, whenever we >make an animal sighting? Quite likely.
sure..but the reverse is true as well.Many people will deny the observations of others if the observation is outside their own belief system.
The belief in the 100% truthfullness and 100% error free abilities of "authority figures" is often used.

>Are there Big Cats at large in Australia? the only honest answer
>we can give is, “Don’t know”


>Are there Big Black Cats at large in Australia?”, the answer must be “Possible, but >quite unlikely”, for all the reasons elucidated in this article.
But this article was not done by someone who actually had a great deal of time to research the phenomena.?

> Those authorities who cite feral domestic cats or dogs to account for sightings >are much more likely to be telling the truth than engaging in conspiracies to cover >it up.
The recourse to the truthfullness of un-named authority figures, comforting as it appears is problematic.
1/authority figures can and do make mistakes 2/authority figures can and do falsify information for personal reasons in
other areas, why would they be exmpt in fringe areas.?
And when authority figures state there are large felid forms in the Australian bush they are ignored anyway.
Your article didnt find/quote even one of them.