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Big cats in Britain

Started by Tim.Relf

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  • #874096

     
    Tim RelfTim.Relf
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    FW has been contacted by a firm of publishers called Whittles – they’re publishing a book called Big Cats – Facing Britains Wild Predators by Rick Minter. I’m looking forward to reading it as I’m fascinated by this topic.

    And a colleague of mine, Sarah Trickett on the FW livestock desk, is planning to put together a feature on the subject so we’d be interested to hear views.

    I’m an “agnostic” – although if pushed would probably say I do, rather than don’t, believe these creatures are living wild in Britain.

    I know we’ve discussed this subject before but seeing as that thread was a couple of years ago, I thought I’d start a new one…

     

    #874097

     
    old mcdonald
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    Tim, I am surprised that anyone needs convincing. They are out there, have been for years.

    Rick Minter is a very knowledgeable person regarding big cats in Britain. I had not heard of him before joining in the previous thread but did a wee bit of googling at the time, and he was kind enough to enter into email correspondence with me.  

  • #874098

     
    welshnwillingwelshnwilling
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    They definitely exist. I have never seen one, but people I know and trust say they’ve seen them. There were a lot of sightings in this area about 3 or 4 yrs ago but nothing since.

    #874099

     
    ploughshareploughshare
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    Odd that one has not been shot or hit by a car in all this time.

    #874100

     
    old mcdonald
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    ploughshare, But they have been. See Page 4 on the link Tim gave to the previous thread for my own experience of a big cat – an excerpt from a book I was writing at the time. I eventually decided there was an “official” policy of denying their existence so as not to affect tourism or alarm “the natives”.

    #874101

     
    Dave5465
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     In the past i’ve done my share of being sceptical of  big cat sightings until a few years ago when i was returning home in the middle of the night (no it wasn’t on my way home from the **** when i turned the corner at the bottom of our road & crouched in the middle of the road startled by my headlights was a full grown lynx. If anyone had told me they had seen it i would have laughed at them but there was no mistaking it.

    It came up in conversation a few months ago with a retired farmer who used to live just down the road & he reminded of a story that i overheard my parents talking quietly about one night when i came home from school 30 odd years ago. He’d shot a big cat in his barn early one morning but daren’t report it as he didn’t have a licence for his gun at the time so had to keep it quiet. The animal he described was exactly the same as the one i saw about 4 yrs ago. It suggests to me that they are breeding out there because if it had been a pair of them that someone had turned out when the dangerous animals act came into force surely the other one would have expired before i saw it 4 yrs ago.

    I’m still paranoid, every time i come around that corner late at night now expecting that as i turn the corner i may see it again

    #874102

     
    the cornish ba#t*rdthe cornish ba#t*rd
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     We’ve got one round here. I’ve seen it as have my aunt and our neighbour (though they may both have been pi**ed at the time). It’s taken a few lambs we think but nothing larger, and not enough to go on a crazed hunt for it.

    But when I saw it, it was standing in the lane, and as I approached it jumped up the hedge. Now, as those of you who have visited Cornwall will know, our hedges stand from 1.5m up to 3 m high. The hedge it jumped up was a good 2 metres high and, with it’s front paws on the top of the hedge, it’s tail was still lying on the road!

    It was big, black and not from round these parts!!!!!

    #874106

     
    mursalmursal
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    Must be shocking quiet in the office, is it?

    #874107

     
    Malcolm
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    Slow news day?

    #874108

     
    Tim RelfTim.Relf
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    Mursal/Malcolm… you old cynics[:D]

    Actually, it is quite a slow news time of year! Oxford Farming Conference is on, I suppose.

    I am genuinely interested in this whole big cat debate though. What I struggle with is why it hasn’t ever been conclusively proved (scientifically confirmed carcass etc). It always seems to be grainy “possible” photos, paw prints that COULD belong to a big cat. And a lot of very clever scientists/wildlife experts have been involved in it.. 

    As I say, though, I’m not a non-believer. I probably think 60-40% they do exist.

    #874109

     
    Dave5465
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     As i say every time i come around that corner now i hope to see it again & one night a couple of years later i came around the corner & saw something marked very similar at the other side of the road but no bigger than a domestic moggy. I was going far 2 fast to stop so did a handbrake turn in the middle of the road (i was quite proud of the way i did it at the time to say it wasn’t planned[:)]) & put the lights straight back onto it thinking it may be a baby lynx & mummy may be lurking in the bushes. It sat there looking at me with a confused look & on closer inspection it had a blue collar with a bell on it.

    The 1st one was definitely real enough though, about a metre long with long pointy ears with long tufts of hair on top of them. I wish i could see it again & maybe get a photo or summat but i know it’s one of those once in a lifetime sightings 

    #874110

     
    Tim RelfTim.Relf
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    You’ve only got to do a very quick scan of the internet – and it does throw up lots of supposed sightings. Just googled the topic and recent articles inlcude:

    A teenager claims to have seen one in Leicestershire

    A supposed sighting by a pensioner in the Lake District

    A report of one in Somerset

    And here’s how the Daily Mail picked up on something in Rick Minter’s book – that the MOD ‘hid evidence’ of the creatures

    #874111

     
    guy smith2601051
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    I agree with ploughshare, how come no one has ever found a dead one?

    As for the comment about the authorities hushing them up, I’ll file that one with Prince Philip murdering Diana and NASA faking the moon landings. 

     

    #874112

     
    old mcdonald
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    2601051, I do not take too kindly to being accused of lying, or that my wife is lying, or other people (some of whom are now dead) and that is precisely what you are saying if you refuse to believe that we saw a “big cat”.  Read my post on the link Tim gives in the OP. I understand the one I referred to as being shot several years earlier was in the museum in Inverness.

    The occasions I referred to are my only definite knowledge of such animals in the UK, so I do not claim there are huge numbers about, but nobody can claim that they do not exist. Proving non existence is an impossibility.

    #874113

     
    robsy01
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    2601051

    I agree with ploughshare, how come no one has ever found a dead one?

    As for the comment about the authorities hushing them up, I’ll file that one with Prince Philip murdering Diana and NASA faking the moon landings. 

    they will hush anything up just like their expenses until it finally came out

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