A supposed new sighting of a "Canterbury black panther" has been exposed as a hoax.

Canterbury resident Sam Williamson contacted the Herald to say he had spotted what he believed was a large cat the size of "medium dog".

However, closer inspection of his claim has found that the image he provided appears to have come from Victoria, Australia, where locals in 2012 stumbled across the panther-like feline lurking in the Wombat State Forest.

The Herald has tried to contact Williamson again to ask why he provided false information.

Advertisement

The last alleged sighting of the "Canterbury black panther" was in September last year, when local Ange Montgomery spotted a large feline in Eiffelton.

She described the animal as "bigger than a Labrador dog and smaller than a cow".

The legend of the Canterbury panther took flight in 2001 when Marcus Ewart and David Tutton reported seeing a large, black panther-like cat near Alford Forest. Two years later the cat appeared again, this time spotted by Peter and Toni May in the Ashburton Gorge.

Is it a panther - or just a really big wild cat? This creature was snapped on the frozen surface of Lake Clearwater. Photo / Michael O'Neill
Is it a panther - or just a really big wild cat? This creature was snapped on the frozen surface of Lake Clearwater. Photo / Michael O'Neill

A month later, in October 2003, truck driver Chad Stewart was startled by a huge black cat in the Mayfield foothills.

Extensive searching from air and on land found no trace of the mysterious animal. In the years that followed numerous people reported seeing a similar creature lurking on mid-Canterbury farm land.