A FEARSOME black panther dwells in the dark at the Cordalba State Forest, and users of the park 'had best be checking over their shoulders' is the message from a local woman who's seen it first-hand.
Laurel Fotheringham is a former resident of Adies Rd, Isis Central and swears she's seen a giant panther among the scrub.
"I was coming in with the big torch at about 8pm at night when I heard a noise behind me," she said.
"I turned to see the full-size black panther standing there between my two rottweilers."
"Ten steps turned into one and I was back inside the house," Mrs Fotheringham said.
"My heart - must have stopped for two days straight after seeing it.
"I used to think it got free of a circus or something."
Though her last sighting of the wild animal was 18 months ago, Mrs Fotheringham said she didn't want to cause too much of a fuss by sharing her encounter.
She said she felt compelled to warn people about the rogue panther after reading in last week's Isis Town and Country that the local mountain biking group and walkers would be using the area more often with their new paths through the forestry.
"I just got concerned with people out there on foot, they're just too vulnerable," she said.
"I lost a Rottweiler that had been opened up in an attack."
Adies Rd neighbour Barbara Thompson said she hadn't seen anything personally, but the stories were enough to keep her checking over her shoulder.
"We've had cattle out there and never seen anything but there are a lot of wild pigs in the area," Mrs Thompson said.
"But it was scary at the time, even just the thought of it."
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