We sighted foraging on our South Coast Track, Fiordland, NZ walk back in April (See eg: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/westies-hut/) . Yesterday I spotted two more quickly disappearing into the shrubbery in a forestry plantation near here on our afternoon walk. I had not even known till then there were wild pigs in this part of Gippsland. These chaps had been doing quite a bit of demolition work on the undergrowth nearby as you can see here:
I mentioned back in May 2015 (http://www.theultralighthiker.com/jeeralang-deer/) that over the years the number and type of deer around here had been increasing steadily. Since then we have spotted a number of them on our afternoon walks too. I guess deer can double their numbers every year given suitable conditions – such as the bushfire regrowth we have had since ‘Black Saturday’. Pigs can no doubt increase even more quickly.
What a pity no-one introduced moose into Victoria (but perhaps they will! See: http://www.theultralighthiker.com/fiordland-moose/) I remarked a few years ago about a pygmy hippo which had been shot along the Daly River NT: http://www.news.com.au/national/pygmy-hippopotamus-shot-during-northern-territory-hunting-trip/story-e6frfkvr-1225798038412 . Life will find a way. Soon there may be cougars, maybe even bears roaming our forests. What fantastic hunting opportunities are still ahead of us! Advances in farming worldwide are leading to ever larger areas being returned to wilderness. Our descendants will have a wonderful time exploring these exciting vastnesses.
During the 1860s gold rushes a crocodile was shot in the Wonnangatta River. It was stuffed and displayed at Trail’s Hotel (Waterford) for many years until it burned down. Many other strange creatures have turned up in Gippsland over the years (http://www.oddhistory.com.au/gippsland/mystery-animal-of-gippsland/) some fanciful, some such as the giant wombat and others mentioned here sent to the Melbourne Museum for safekeeping. A grizzly bear, lion, elephant…
Before you say ‘no such creatures can be out there still’ consider this. Last time an organised hunt of Wilsons Prom was undertaken (1968) a hunter managed to ‘bag’ an Axis Deer, the first seen since they were released near Tooradin in the 1850s. My friend and I watched an utterly bizarre unknown creature on the slopes of Mt Useful many years ago. Several times I have also encountered several giant echidnas in Gippsland – such as they have in New Guinea – ie an echidna about ¾ the size of a wombat! A number of times I have observed striped foxes and once a striped dingo (ie black and gold vertical stripes – I even have a very poor quality 35mm photo of it somewhere! I and other hunters have seen strange creatures from time to time over the years – often it is only a glimpse.
Another example: in nearly forty years hunting in the Gippsland mountains I have only once seen a wild emu in the forest (though I also once found an egg). However, if you go for a drive after snow (such as we are to have on Friday down to 700 metres) you will see many emu tracks crossing the roads, and those of lots of many other seldom encountered critters. Tracks stand out astonishingly well in fresh snow. At very least you will not believe how large deer tracks can sometimes be. Driving on snowy roads is a beautiful adventure (but be careful!) Maybe this weekend would be a good time to have a look around! Take the wheel chains, and some fire lighters.