Jack Tessier
Jack Tessier found the huge paw print in the outskirts of Lake Macquarie in New South WalesFacebook

The fascination with big cat sightings is not unique to the UK, as a boy from Down Under has proven with his discovery of a huge paw print in the Australian bush. Jack Tessier, 16, found the unusual marking while four-wheel driving along the southern shores of Lake Macquarie, in a place called Wyee, New South Wales, (NSW).

Speaking to the Newcastle Herald, Jack, whose Facebook page shows an interest in cryptozoology, the study of 'hidden' animals, said: "I was shocked to come across it. I strongly believe the area has all a panther needs to survive."

He made a plaster cast of the print to prove his finding to the world.

There have been rumours for decades of a black panther being spotted in the wild in Sydney, especially recently, according to the paper, with the discovery of kangaroo skeletons in the area.

In 2001, a freedom of information request showed the NSW government's growingly alarm to the number of panther sightings so it commissioned a big cat expert to resolve the issue. In Johannes Bauer's report, he concluded: "Difficult as it seems to accept, the most likely explanation of the evidence… is the presence of a large feline predator."

But in a 2013 government review, entitled "large free-ranging felines in New South Wales", concluded "the sightings were at best prima facie evidence" and as far as the Department for Primary Industries was concerned "the matter was closed".

Residents, such as Chris Goffey, who had set up The Grose Vale Group, which recorded the number of sightings in the region was disappointed with the report's findings, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. She told the paper at the time: "We continue to be treated like fringe-dwelling idiots. This is an insult to everyone who has seen the creature."

In the UK, there are around 2,000 big cat sightings recorded anecdotally each year.

Recently, 90% of people, who took part in a survey welcomed the announcement by The Lynx Trust, to reintroduce the Lynx back into Britain's forests as a trial for the first time in 1,300 years.

Dr Paul O'Donoghue, who is co-ordinating the trial, told Sky News: "They promote forest regeneration. In the UK, forests are dying. There's no regeneration of younger trees coming through because of the massive overpopulation of deer. Lynx will help to both control and move deer around, which will promote forest regeneration."