Last photo of Canterbury’s legendary ‘Black Panther’ is a joke

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New images have emerged on social media of the so-called Black Panther which has roamed the plains of central Canterbury for decades. But it turns out they’re just a well-executed joke.

The new image is now causing a stir in the town, where the local pub has changed its name to Panther’s Rock following a sighting a few years ago.

Canterbury pub owner Deb Gilkison said the photos were “pretty startling” and prove there is something there.

The legend of the big black cats has been around for 50 years, with dating stories and several gritty shots.

READ MORE: Two independent sightings of mysterious South Island panther within days and 20km apart

Mount Somers farmer Blair Gallagher said he spotted the panther earlier this year on his farm.

“I got the binoculars out on it…it sat like a black cat and had a pretty big mane on it.”

Gallagher said he never thought he would have to see one, but now he “there’s definitely something there.”

But it turns out the photo was actually taken by the Department of Conversation as a joke that they caught the Black Panther.

The photo actually shows a DOC worker holding a feral cat trapped in the upper Rangitata region as part of the eradication program.

The cat was the size of a small cheetah, weighing almost 5 kilos and was 82cm long, including the tail.

The photo was taken at an angle that makes the animal appear much larger than it is

The Conversation Department advises that management will speak to the staff member concerned about using good judgment in the future.

Despite this conclusion, the legend of the Black Panther remains believed by many.

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