Thursday, 8 November 2018

CARL WRITES: 23/10/18 - Stamford, Lincolnshire

Read the original story here.

"It's a great shame that the photograph of the alleged ‘black panther’ prowling a field near Stamford, and that of the close up of the pawprint taken the following day, both photographed by father of four Steve Kelly, are unfortunately ill-defined and thus limited in their value as evidence. Nevertheless the animal in the vague photograph does appear to be a felid but seems to be, going simply by the basic anatomy observable in the photo, of the species Felis catus – the domestic cat.

Mr Kelly said “it moved like a cat and was very graceful. It was Jet Black... I was just taken aback when I saw this creature. It was compelling to watch”.

The cat in the photograph tagged Jet Black Panther (4982922) is without doubt very dark in colour, most likely melanistic, but unfortunately the photo isn’t clear enough to accurately judge the animals dimensions in relation to nearby objects, and I also do not wish to call Mr Kelly’s observational prowess into question, as being an airplane pilot would appear to be more than adequate.

I have to agree with Mr Kelly to a certain extent in that the cat in this image is certainly gracile in appearance, and is therefore most likely, in my opinion, to be nothing more than a relatively large domestic cat. At 200m it would be difficult for anyone to judge it’s size accurately. I think its safe to assume however that this was quite a large cat.

“As it saw us, it started to move very gracefully towards the corner of the field. There was no way I could have chased it and I was just scrambling to get my phone out of my pocket before it disappeared”.

It should also be noted that Mr Kelly had prior interest and belief in the British big cat phenomenon, after his wife, Emily, observed a similar creature when previously living in Ketton, Rutland. Mrs Kelly actually reported her sighting to the local police. This preconceived belief might have had an effect on Mr Kelly’s observation and led him to conclude that the animal he briefly witnessed was larger than it really was. As human beings we tend to see what we want to see, especially when we observe something imperfectly at a great distance!

And then the discovery the following day of the pawprint might have seemed to confirm this opinion!

Unfortunately for us the photograph of the pawprint is also indistinct, although it does seem to indicate a certain symmetry which might suggest it was made by a canid, either a fox, or perhaps more likely a medium sized dog.

He said “this sort of thing really interests me, and I’m thinking of setting up a motion sensor infra-red camera in that area too, so who knows, if I could get a close up photo of whatever it really is, it could solve this completely”.

Mr Kelly even contacted BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham and also contacted a university zoologist to find out more which suggests he is being truthful and is not trying to deceive anybody.

“There is plenty of good food supply available here, with deer, rabbits, sheep, and even domestic cats, which have been reported missing”.

Mr Kelly stated this animal was “much bigger” than his own pets. It would therefore be a very good idea for him to set up motion camera equipment in this area as he suggested. It would also be productive to photograph an object of comparable size in precisely the same location as the cat in the photograph and at the same distance; and to continue to look out for fresh (and therefore hopefully clearer) pawprints. A hair sample can also prove invaluable.

Unfortunately, I think this is a black domestic cat, maybe quite a large one, and the pawprint is probably that of a canid, possibly a dog."

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