Saturday, 28 December 2013

UK SIGHTINGS: Hunt for mystery cat after new sighting

IF you go down to the woods today in Tunbridge Wells you might not be sure of a big surprise – but you never know. It’s not teddy bears you need to worry about in the depths of Knights Park Woods, but a puma. Following the Courier’s report last week of a sighting of the wild cat by two local women, there was a fresh report last Thursday.

Arthur O’Hara, of Birchett Avenue, Langton Green, was driving in Knights Park, heading towards Longfield Road, at about 2pm. The animal, also known as a mountain lion, ran in front of his car. He said: “It was large and cat-like, but much bigger than a domestic cat. It came out of the woods on my left and dashed into the woods on the right.

“Its colour was lighter than a fox and its tail was definitely not bushy like a fox. It was long. There was no question of it being any kind of dog.” With a further report of a sighting of a puma near St Paul’s Church, Rusthall, a few weeks ago, it was time for me to investigate. Primed by Kent’s big cat expert Neil Arnold about tell-tale signs of the puma, I headed off to the woods at Knights Park.

I was looking for scratch marks high up tree trunks, paw prints but without claw marks, stools possibly containing remnants of fur or feathers and an unnerving call. “Imagine a miaow but absolutely terrifying. I can imagine you running!” he warned me. And rather alarmingly too, Mr Arnold advised me to look high up into the trees. “That’s the last place people look. There are large trees in those woods, which something like a puma would like to be up,” he said.READ MORE

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