Big Cat News: ‘Panther’ as ‘spotted’ feline in Somerset – Police confirm report | Nature | News


The suspected big cat was spotted between the towns of Frome and Bruton in the Witham Friary area. Confirmation of the report came following a freedom of information request asking how many big cat sightings had been reported in the area in 2021.

He followed accounts of ‘caracals’ and ‘cougars’ roaming the Devon and Cornwall countryside.

One man even claimed he came “face to face” with one of Dartmoor’s animals.

The local Constabulary was asked how many sightings had been reported in Somerset and Bath last year.

The force responded by saying that they had searched their computer systems for any logs containing the term “big cat“.

They noted that this would not capture all of the reported big cats.

Some may have been registered under more specific terms like “lynx” and “leopard”.

Avon and Somerset Police said: “Following a search of call logs in 2021 for the text ‘big cat’ a report was identified with a recorded location of Somerset or Bath.

“As for the identified report, the recorded description was ‘big cat puma/panther type’.

“The recorded location was ‘Witham Friary area’ in the local police area of ​​Somerset East.

“The appeal was resolved without deployment by Avon and Somerset Police.

“No information on whether or not this has been confirmed has been recorded.”

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Of the alleged Dartmoor sighting, cat expert Frank Tunbridge said it was “very unusual to see a caracal living in the wild in the UK”. But he added that Dartmoor is a “vast area of ​​wilderness”.

Many of the sightings reported turn out to be unique or erroneous.

Free-ranging big cats have been confirmed as abandoned pets or escaped animals from secure enclosures.

Mr Tunbridge added: ‘To a large majority of the British public, the idea of ​​predatory big cats portrayed as a black leopard or puma stalking our woods and fields is incredible.

“Yet for a witness who has observed one of these elusive and stealthy creatures up close, the experience is unforgettable and lives with them forever.

“So, are they there or not?”

“The whole subject of ‘big cats‘ living and thriving in the UK has been going on for decades without a satisfactory conclusion.

“Even though the evidence of their existence is overwhelming.

“Facts like confirmed DNA, deer killed and eaten in a certain way, and big cat paw marks.

“There is no doubt that over the years these animals have appeared as a result of releases and escapes from private collections.

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They secretly bred and spread across the British Isles to naturalize and are now part of our diverse exotic fauna.

“Many of these big cats are hybrids that now breed true to type.

“Up to 70% of the reports I receive state this fact in their chat description.”

Experts estimate there could be up to 500 big cats roaming the UK.

Any sightings should be reported to the police or the RSPCA, according to the advice.


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