By Brendan Rees
A Frankston East man says he may have sighted a Tasmanian tiger at a local sighting hotspot.
Bernie Sampson said was walking along Centre Break at the Fauna and Flora Reserve in Langwarrin South at about 11am one morning in late September, when the supposedly extinct creature “came from the right-hand side of the path.”
“I had walked about 150 metres and about 50 metres back towards me I saw this – it wasn’t a dog or a fox. All I saw was black.
“I would say I was at least 200 metres from it.”
He said the animal ran across from the Long Crescent South to the Long Crescent North side within two seconds.
“It was obviously chasing a rabbit or something, a prey, and in a couple of seconds it jumped from the right-hand side where all the bushes are across the path to the left-hand side.”
“It reminded me of a film of cheetahs in the way it raced.”
Mr Sampson said it was the first time in 25 years of walking in the reserve that he had seen the animal – which is the third apparent public sighting in the past two months.
He admits he wasn’t wearing his glasses at the time, adding the animal was “much bigger than a dog. All I could see was black because it was over in a quick time.”
Asked if it the creature had distinguishable features, he said “No, I can’t to be honest, adding “I haven’t seen it before.”
Thylacine hunter Michael Moss said it was possible the Tasmanian tiger was on the prowl.
He said the fact that Mr Sampson had been walking in the reserve for 25 years and “seen nothing until this happens is an amazing coincidence.”
“There are two witnesses in that park around that time who claim to have seen something that they haven’t seen before.”
“The chances of coming across it on foot are just luck but you never know – especially at dusk or dawn you’re a real chance,” Mr Moss said.
“For some reason it seems to be in that catchment.”