Do big cats really exist and are sightings real?

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Claims of big cat sightings in the Staffordshire and Derbyshire countryside are not unusual and have been reported several times over the years.

However, there have been few undisputed photographs or videos to support the claims. And while the pumas, panthers and the like are really there, they don’t stay long enough for people to pull out their cameras and come closer – if they dared. The images that have been taken are often blurry and ambiguous at best.

But it feels like every two months there is a new sighting in an area and even though some are convinced they are there, the majority reject the claims.

They insist that in the days of modern cameras and phones, someone would have filmed undisputed footage if the sightings were true.

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But sighting reports continue to pour in.

In fact, earlier this month even Derbyshire Police officers set out to search Ticknall for big cats after a reported sighting, but returned with nothing despite spending 12 hours searching.

It’s not something confined to Staffordshire and Derbyshire – there have been reports from all over the country and they appear online every two months or so as a new one would be spotted. The “Bodmin Beast” is the subject of legends if not even categorically proven to be real.

But are the sightings real or just a myth as we all know is the mind used to seeing things that are not there especially when the weather and light are bad?

In fact, there might be some truth to big cat sightings in the UK and it all dates back to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 which prohibited members of the public from keeping them as pets.

After the legislation came into effect, it is said that many owners simply pushed their exotic beasts back to the countryside to fend for themselves.

Generally shy creatures, some are convinced that they would have stayed away from humans and populated areas, living off livestock and wildlife in remote areas.

The Dangerous Wild Animals Act came into effect in Britain because at the time it was fashionable to keep interesting and exotic pets. The trend was on the rise from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, so it is true that there would have been many big cats, lions, tigers, etc. in the UK at the time.

There was a growing concern for public safety to keep such animals. Anyone can have a dangerous animal that they treat like a pet that runs around the house before the act.

There was nothing to regulate what was going on and so the law was introduced, covering a long list of animals, including primates, carnivores, larger or poisonous reptiles, dangerous spiders and scorpions.

The new law has made it illegal to keep these animals without a license, and the state is now allowed to specify where and how the animal is to be kept. This law also obliges keepers to have their animals covered by a satisfactory civil liability insurance policy.

This act therefore caused problems for those who already owned such pets considered dangerous and forced them to get rid of them.

Many experts believe that these cats could have adapted to country life and have raised a whole new generation of wild cats.

There are many Facebook pages dedicated to big cat sightings that are regularly updated with messages from people who are convinced they have seen a wild cat roaming the countryside.

The Daily Express reported in September that Frank Tunbridge is often approached for his expert opinion on big cats and other unusual wildlife sightings and that he had received 25 reports of big cats across the country, including the 17th. September a couple returning from an auction came across a mysterious Big Bristol Cat in the Forest of Dean.

He was described as the same size as a Great Dane and compared it to the logo of sports brand Puma when the terrified couple saw the creature jump. Since that sighting, he has received a large number of emails, he said.

These reports come from across the UK including Devon, Worcester, Scotland, Ross-on-Wye and more from the Forest of Dean.


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