Warrigal

Maned Australian Big Cat.

Etymology: From the Dharuk (Australian) warigal, now generally used for large dogs, dingos, or anything wild.

Variant names: Blue Mountain lion, Erskine

578 WA-MBILIKIMO

Gap monster, Lithgow panther, Megalong monster, Rock lion, Waregal.

Physical description: Muscular body. Length, 6—7 feet. Shoulder height, 3 feet. Large, catlike head. Large, protruding teeth. Long, shaggy mane. Light- to dark-brown fur.

Tracks: Large and catlike. Length, 5—6 inches. Width, 5 inches. Set 9.5 inches apart.

Distribution: Blue Mountains, New South Wales.

Significant sightings: Livestock were killed and eaten in 1889 west of Megalong Valley, New South Wales, by a large cat that left huge paw-prints.

In April 1945, a hiking party on Mount Solitary watched four Warrigals moving across Cedar Valley.

In October 1955, Blue Mountains residents and police searched extensive areas of bushland between Wentworth Falls and the Blaxland-Glenbrook area in search of a large, shaggy-haired lionlike animal.

In 1977, three hunters were approached by a lion in the Mulgoa District, New South Wales. They fired at it, and it ran off into the scrub.

Rex Gilroy found large cat tracks a few days old in a cave near Medlow Bath in 1978.

In February 2001, two bushwalkers in the Wollangambie Wilderness saw a 5-foot, black animal perched on a tree limb and feeding on a wallaby.

Possible explanations:

(1) A lion (Panthera leo) that escaped from a zoo.

(2) A surviving Marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex), a leopard-sized, arboreal marsupial that lived as recently as 10,000 years ago, proposed by Rex Gilroy.

Sources: Rex Gilroy, "Giant Mystery Cats of Australia," Strange Phenomena, January 1980, available on line at http://www.internetezy. com.au/~mj129/strangephenomenonv.html; Rex Gilroy, "Mystery Lions in the Blue Mountains," Nexus 2, no. 8 (June-July 1992): 25—27, 64; Karl Shuker, In Search ofPrehistoric Survivors (London: Blandford, 1995), p. 135; Rex Gilroy, "Big Cats of the Blue Mountains," Australasian Ufologist 5, no. 4 (2001): 16-21.

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