The Lindis Lion first came to public attention in 1999 when an English couple, Mark and Deb Greening captured on film what they believe to have been a Mountain Lion – Felis concolor in Lindas Pass in the South Island of New Zealand. The creature was first spotted by Mr Greening in the undergrowth, as they sped past it in the campervan which they were using to tour the South Island, on the way to Queenstown.
Out of curiosity they turned back and were astonished to see a large Cat about 20-30 metres from the van. This sighting was however, like so many before it, passed off by government authorities as being nothing more than an extremely large feral cat.
In August of 1998 a Mountain Lion was observed in the Dunstan Ranges near Cromwell.
It was said to be the size of a Labrador and had a dark orange-mustard coloured coat. Once again the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries put the sighting down to a misidentification of a feral cat and ignored the situation hoping it would go away as people lost interest. But it didn’t. In July of that year a Mountain lion was photographed crossing a paddock near Omarama, once again the verdict was a Feral Cat from government officials. December of 1999 saw the sighting of another Mountain Lion that has coined the name of the “Moeraki Mountain Lion”.
This time the cat was seen by Canadian Tourists that were quite familiar with these creatures, having seen them in their own country. The Tourists watched as the cat sunned itself on some rocks near Moeraki, which is South of Omaru. On realising it had been spotted the cat leisurely wandered off and was lost from view. It was about 3 metres long and golden in colour. One man held some credence to the story, an Omaru restaurateur, who offered a reward for conclusive proof of the animals’ existence. So far his money has remained in his pocket. In May of 2005 another Mountain Lion was seen this time actually in Queenstown. The cat was sighted skulking in some scrub near the Heritage Hotel by an Australian Tourist. It was about the size of a Golden Retriever but moved in a cat-like manner.
With the latest sighting why have none been found?
British Big Cats still remain elusive as ever and the New Zealand ones are no different.
The South Island, especially the Canterbury area is well known for its mystery cats as there are not only Mountain Lions there but also a species of large black cat as well.