A SMYTHESDALE man has taken photos of what he believes is the footprint of a giant puma, after the reported mauling of a Shetland pony on his neighbour's property.
However police say it is impossible to say if the footprints of a wild cat or just a big dog.
Noel Judd, who has lived in Smythesdale his entire life, believes a puma or similar creature is lurking around the area.
He has even made a plaster cast of the footprint as apparent proof.
"There is something around that is for sure," said Mr Judd.
He described the footprint as the size of a human hand, imprinted in mud surrounding the property.
"Years ago they used to talk about them all the time. There was one out on the road near Waubra once," Mr Judd said.
Big cat researcher John Turner said there had been "plenty" of sightings in the Ballarat area, but not too many in recent times.
"It's just starting to pick back up again now that sheep are having lambs," he said.
"We probably get two or three reports a week — mostly in Victoria but we get them from all over Australia."
Mr Turner said in the Ballarat region, sightings have occurred across the area but were concentrated in the Pyrenees.
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