Cougars in Western Australia

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The premise that there were cougars in Western Australia was widely believed during the 1970s.

There are several theories as to how they were introduced. The most popular theory was that United States servicemen brought four cougar kittens to Western Australia during World War II; they eventually grew too big for captivity and were released—two at Fremantle and two at Bunbury. Another theory is that cougars escaped from a traveling circus that was involved in an accident between Bridgetown and Nannup around 1961. The circus theory has often been referenced to support the allegation that cougars were responsible for the deaths of around 2000 sheep in the Duranillin area in the late 1970s.[1]

The State Library of Western Australia's catalogue refers to the cougar story as the Cordering cougar, while the oral history record has a summary with the spelling Coedering Cougars [2]

These theories received significant attention in 1979, including numerous media mentions, and during a debate on the issue in the parliament. That year, the Agricultural Protection Board of Western Australia declared that a two-year investigation had failed to find any evidence to suggest that cougars had ever been introduced into south-west Western Australia. Nonetheless, in 1981 an A$20,000 reward was offered for the capture of a cougar in Western Australia, dead or alive. The reward was never claimed.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Long, J. L. (1988). Introduced birds and mammals in Western Australia (2nd Edition). Agriculture Protection Board of Western Australia. 
  2. ^ Interview with Arnold Meredith, cousin of John Meredith and farmer in the Lake Grace and Boyup Brook regions, W.A. Meredith speaks of pioneering at Lake Grace, W.A. in a low rainfall district, settling and shearing activities, stories about the mysterious Coedering Cougars; Recorded on Sept. 9, 1991.http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9153126

Further reading[edit]

  • McGeough, P (1979-03-28). "Farmers plan cougar hunt for next sighting". The West Australian. 
  • Pash, B (1979-04-21). "MPs to debate cat mystery". Sunday Times. 
  • Zekulich, M (1979-08-01). "A.P.B.: There is no evidence of cougars in W.A.". West Australian. 
  • Anonymous (1981-08-30). "U.S. soldiers brough cats here — claim". Sunday Independent. 
  • O'Reilly, David (1981, republished 2011) Savage Shadow: The search for the Australian Cougar Sydney, NSW. Strange Nation Publishing, 2011. ISBN 978-0-646-55313-9
  • Williams, M and Lang, R (2010) "Australian Big Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers" Sydney, NSW. Strange Nation Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-646-53007-9