All this talk about big cats has prompted me to tell my story concerning these creatures.
In 1994 driving in bushland approximately 30 minutes from Ballarat, my eye caught something in the rear vision mirror.
I watched as the panther ran across the road behind me: viewing time, a few seconds.
But this sighting was not new to me because, about 1975, I got a much better look.
I took my two young sons and our dobermann bitch named Sheba fishing.
The place we went to is about 40 minutes from here and the fish knew we were coming as there was no bites.
The boys got bored and wanted to have a look around. I said "yes be careful and take Sheba for protection".
They hadn't been gone long when Sheba started barking - well, more like howling - and the boys screamed for me to come.
Running up an embankment through some bush into a clearing, there were my sons and Sheba.
I looked where they pointed.
Rounding a hill about 100m or so away was a big black panther, face on and slightly one side at first sighting then full on side view as it padded around the hill.
I smile when people say the sightings could be a feral cat or labrador.
I have seen both and they look nothing like this long sleek magnificent creature. At no stage with humans and a howling dog so near did this animal look concerned at all and maintained a steady pace.
It looked as if it had been around humans and dogs all its life.
The panther finished its trek around the hill and disappeared into the undergrowth. Viewing time about a minute or so.
I packed the kids and dog into the wagon and shot through.
An interesting thing apart from the obvious was Sheba's actions.
Here was an animal that I had to have put down because of her antisocial behaviour around other animals and some humans, but on that day the eldest boy had no trouble holding this big strong animal, and when I grabbed the collar I could feel she was happy to stay right where she was.
Some years later I read an article about the British police having to get rid of their doberman dogs because they found this breed understood fear, and when its life was in danger they would not follow them.
So, there you have it. Sheba was frightened for her life.
I have been extremely lucky to have seen these amazing animals twice and I hope some of you out there will be as lucky.
Shoot them with a camera if you can but no guns please, because I for one would hate to see this beautiful creature shot or hurt.