Sunday, 9 March 2014

UK SIGHTINGS: Reader's letter: Takes right place and time to spot a big cat

franktunbridge Frank Tunbridge next to what he believes is a large cat paw print
Comments (4) I READ with interest the reaction experienced by CR Miles when he observed one of our British big cats – in this instance a black leopard-type animal, in southern Scotland some 15 years ago, (Citizen, Letters, January 29).

I receive many similar reports annually from people in all walks of life in all parts of the country, who happen to be in the right place at the right time. Gloucestershire especially seems to be a hotspot for big cat sightings, and in 2013, from January to December I collated over 50 of these from local people who were just as entranced as the witness in your latest report.

The question is not ‘are they out there?’ but ‘how many?’

We don’t know the answer to this, but every county in the British Isles has reports of these large elusive wild animals that exist and thrive in our countryside, and often, especially during the bleak winter months, on the perimeters of towns and villages where the food waste and small livestock such as domestic rabbits and backyard chickens lure them in.

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