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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Big cat sightings

There is a reason I retired after being a UK police forces exotic fauna advisor.  Anyway, if I learnt one thing between 1975-2007 it was that you need scale to estimate a cat's size.

This cat does not look in the least bit melanistic (black) but seems to have a mottled pattern.  Could be one of the smaller "non native" cats.

 Seriously, all the data shows these cats have been around and breeding since "at least" the 19th century -the police know it, the farmers and villagers know it, naturalists know it but we have to say "non native" because first the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food (MAFF) and then the Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) say they are not there.  Ask DEFRA about the drawer full of "big cat" paw print casts in Bristol. I was shown them by accident in 1998.

 "Hybrid of a wild and domesticated cat".......utter s**t water.

Big cat sightings: 'Huge' black beast photographed stalking through suburban gardens

Carole Desforges spotted the mystery animal prowling on the lawn opposite her home on the outskirts of Plymouth in Devon

Beast: Some are questioning whether this strange creature could be the latest big cat sighting
Strange images of a huge black beast stalking through suburban gardens could be fresh evidence of big cats on the loose in Britain.

Office worker Carole Desforges spotted a mystery animal prowling on the lawn opposite her home on the outskirts of Plymouth in Devon.

She managed to get a few snaps of it through the window before it ran off.

Carole, 59, first thought it was just a fox - but having reviewed her pictures she is now not so sure.
Some friends have suggested it could be a puma, lynx, leopard - or an unknown beast of Plymouth.
But Carole said: " I guess it remains a mystery.

"I enjoy the speculation about it all.

"I don't know what it is, but people have been suggesting it could be some kind of big cat.
"A puma or a lynx have both been mentioned.
"I don't know what it is, but I have never seen anything like it before.

"I was in the living room and saw something blurry outside through the living room door.

"I grabbed my phone and took a picture.

"I originally thought it was a fox but since I shared the photo, people have been having all sorts of ideas."
Her son Dave Desforges added: "Mum might think it's a fox, but I am not convinced."

Latest figures show there have been an estimated 200 big cat sightings in Devon and Cornwall over the last 13 years.

A tiger was said to have been spotted in Exmouth in Devon.

A puma was spotted in Efford by a Plymouth man who called to report it to police.

The number of calls, which hit 220, peaked in 2001 when there were 30 in a year.

Four people have also reported to the emergency services they believe their livestock could have been killed by big cats thanks to claw marks on the corpses.

Not all sightings are reported to police, with some going straight to big cat groups.

Danny Bamping of the British Big Cat Society said: "In Britain 75 per cent of the reports are of big black cats, but the unanswered question is what they are.

"There's no doubt in my mind that there could be black leopards, but the animal seen was possibly a hybrid of a wild and domesticated cat."

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