Monday, 31 December 2018

ARTICLE: All Cornwall and Devon's big cat sightings revealed

The question of whether there is a big and mysterious beast roaming wild around the Moors of Devon and Cornwall is one that captures the imagination.

Many people remain convinced that the so-called ‘Beast of Bodmin’, actually exists, with the beast described as a phantom wild cat, possibly with two sharp prominent teeth, like those found on a leopard.

It was first spotted in 1983 and, since the first sightings, reports of the Beast of Bodmin have flooded in the police’s system.

Now the number of possible sightings reported to Devon and Cornwall Police in the last eight years has been revealed - scroll down to see the full list!

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Are the mountain lion sightings in Monterey for real?

There are no photos. There is no proof. The government says they don't exist here. And so does the state. There are only quick sightings around town of the large cat known as the mountain lion. "It ran right in front of my truck a few weeks ago," said Kenneth Basler, a town official who said he saw the large cat around Stevens Pond off Route 23 between Monterey and Great Barrington. "It was around 4 feet long, not including the tail." Reports of mountain lions have gotten some mileage lately throughout these rural hills, with possible sightings, and on occasion, some worry about the safety of people and animals. But maybe there's nothing to worry about. The sightings are often met with suspicion; some say the "Bigfoot factor" is hard at work.


Sunday, 16 December 2018

NEWSLINK: No lessons from Avni? Three-old tiger killed by monsters in Chandarpur forest

While a controversy rages over lapses in the killing of a man-eating tigress at Yavatmal by a private hunter hired by the forest department, there is more bad news in store for tigers and animal lovers. A three-year old tiger was poached via electrocution near the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) at Chandrapur.
The core and buffer areas of the TATR have over 80 of the estimated 203 tigers in Maharashtra, making in the most tiger-dense landscape in the state with the neighbouring Brahmapuri forest division. According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) data, a total of 16 tigers have died in Maharashtra this year. This death takes the number to 17. In addition, three cubs were mowed down by a train last month at Chandrapur.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, UK: Beast of Bucks is back after terrified driver reports spotting mystery feline

For years locals have reported brief glimpses of a large cat - believed to be a puma and dubbed the ‘Beast of Bucks’ - stalking the area.

The latest sighting was reported in Princes Risborough on November 30 by a panicked homeowner, who spotted a large animal prowling just metres from her home.

Paulo Nicolaides, who has dedicated his life to wild cat research after developing an interest in the mystery creatures when he was a young boy, reported the latest incident on his ‘Big Cats of the Chilterns’ blog.

Read more... 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

NEWSLINK: Grocery shop owner killed in tiger attack near Tadoba-Andheri Tiger Reserve

In yet another tiger attack in Warora tehsil, a person was killed on the spot at Ramdegi, a scenic spot adjacent to Tadoba-Andheri Tiger Reserve (TATR),on Monday. As per reports, the deceased, identified as Sandip Arjun Titre, 38, was a resident of village Ralegaon in the tehsil. Sandip had a grocery shop at Ramdegi where tourists throng in large numbers to enjoy waterfall and scenic beauty of the place. On Monday, Sandip opened his shop around 8 am and carried out regular cleaning works. Later, he went to attend nature’s call in behind the bushes. However, a tiger hiding behind the bushes suddenly attacked Sandip.

When he failed to return, his wife asked other shopkeepers to find him out. And when they went to see him, they were shocked to horrifying scene. A tiger was eating the body of Sandip, stated Bhaurao Nannaware and Ramu Patil, the eye witnesses while talking to ‘The Hitavada’.

Read more... 

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

NEWSLINK: Orphaned tiger successfully relocated

The three-year-old tiger has been rewilded independently in Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Sidhi, from Kanha.

Translocation of orphaned tiger was successfully carried out from Kanha Tiger Reserve to Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Sidhi, on Monday. The orphan cub was rescued three years back from Mukki forest circle and was grown in captivity at Kanha Tiger Reserve. Three-year-old tiger has been rewilded independently in Sanjay Tiger Reserve, Sidhi.

A combined team of wildlife experts from Kanha Tiger Reserve, Pench Tiger Reserve and Sanjay Tiger Reserve completed necessary preparations as per the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) before tranquilising the male tiger and his blood sampling.


Tuesday, 11 December 2018

ARTICLE: We must try to save ‘Highland tiger’

Attempts to save wildcats raise complex and morally tricky questions, writes Jonny Hughes. Of all Scotland’s wild mammals, the wildcat is perhaps the most elusive. I’ve only ever had a good sighting of one once – on the dunes at Coul Links in east Sutherland back in 1994. Though I didn’t know it at the time, the animal I saw was unlikely to have been a pure-bred wildcat, despite displaying all the physical characteristics of the species, including a wonderfully bushy tail. It’s highly likely it was a hybrid between a domestic cat and the ancestors of the European wildcats that colonised Britain 9,000 years ago by crossing the ice which then connected us to the continent.


Sunday, 9 December 2018

NEWSLINK: India losing a tiger every three days

India, it appears, is not as safe a country for its big cats, particularly leopards and tigers, with increasing numbers of their ilk falling prey to human activities, including poaching.

On an average, India is losing one tiger every three days and more than a leopard each day. As per the last all-India tiger census in 2014, the country had 2,226 tigers. The country is estimated to have between 12,000 and 14,000 leopards.

Read more... 

CARL WRITES: Dudley Zoo Snow Leopard Escape - 30/11/18

Dudley Zoo is back in the headlines once again following the cruel and totally unnecessary fatal shooting of Margaash – an eight year old snow leopard (Panthera uncia) who escaped from his enclosure back in October. The big cat broke free after his enclosure was left open by staff, and zoo officials made the drastic decision to terminate the extremely rare cat (rare over much of its range – with only between 3,500 and 7,000 left in the wild) after a concern for public safety, and the amount of time a tranquiliser would take to knock him out. The incident happened at 5 pm when the zoo was closed and no visitors were inside at the time.

Due to the fact Margaash escaped in the evening and had made his way into a small local woodland, and was therefore well away from busy urbanised areas, the euthanasia of this extremely rare cat is utterly unjustified.

Now, animal rights protesters from the Black Country Vegans Group have demonstrated outside the zoo after news broke last week.

“We wanted to make a point that this zoo is not a nice place and we’re not happy, we want people to think twice before spending money there”.

“He [Margaash] escaped because of keeper error, but looking at the enclosure he was in he was bound to escape, it was so small!”.

It took the zoo over a month before reporting the shooting of Margaash, so one might reasonably ask, what was the delay? It makes one think there is more to this story than meets the eye, and that we have not been told everything, the information isn’t clear and it’s definitely unsettling.

The Black Country Vegans Group has stated “We were protesting for people to think twice before going to the zoo, what other mistakes are being made that we’re not told about”.  

What other mistakes indeed?

Unlike many so called British big cat experts, who generally believe the British populations are sustained by natural (even hybridised) breeding, I conclude that even though propagation has on occasion taken place (this is evidenced by some reports of mothers with cubs), the British situation is actually continually bolstered by escapees from small holdings, incompetent zoos and from illegal private collections. There are still plenty of unscrupulous zoos; and even gangsters and drug dealers who own and use big cats for territorial purposes, and it’s these animals that escape, or are released, and are generally on the loose In Britain.

Most large zoos will undoubtedly report an escapee, especially when it’s a large predator, however, there are likely to be some small holdings who choose keep the situation quiet in order to avoid negative public opinions and possible closure.

I once worked at a small zoo in Worcestershire where a non native felid, a male Scottish Wildcat (Felis silvestris grampia), had previously escaped his enclosure and was never recaptured. The escapee hybridised with the local domestic cat population producing feral, and very aggressive wildcat/domestic hybrids. Once or twice, the hybrids would turn up in the local villages (and were collected) but the male wildcat that escaped the zoo was never seen again.

Regarding the escape from Dudley Zoo, Stacie Dunkley of the Black Country Vegans Group says “There was a massive outcry over this, which is good, but people need to think about the animals that are still there that need better care”.

The reason why the zoo took the drastic measure to shoot such a rare animal is clearly because they knew that if they lost track of the creature’s whereabouts for at least 24 hours they would possibly never see the him again!

And to think many people still believe there are no (and never have been any) big cats roaming the British countryside – they have clearly never heard of Felicity the Puma (1980), Xiang the Clouded Leopard (1987), Lara the Lynx (2001), and now, for a short while, the unfortunate case of Margaash the Snow Leopard (2018). Personally for me, there is really no mystery at all concerning the British big cat phenomena – they are very rare, and are mostly unrecorded, escapees, nothing more!

“I visited Dudley Zoo many years ago in my teenage years (I’m now 66) and thought back then it was kind to animals. But after this awful, and completely unnecessary atrocity regarding Margaash, the snow leopard, I have now completely changed my opinion and shall never visit again”

“Shame on Dudley Zoo for destroying such a rare and beautiful animal”.

Mrs. Frances L. Marshall, Welford on Avon, Warwickshire (05/12/2018).

I couldn’t agree more!

NEWSLINK: Mountain lion found dead with burns after California fire

Officials say a mountain lion that survived Southern California's recent wildfire was later found dead with badly burned paws.

The National Park Service said Friday that a GPS collar worn by the big cat known as P-64 transmitted signals on Nov. 26 and Nov. 28 — more than two weeks after the destructive Woolsey fire broke out.

The signals eventually stopped. On Dec. 3 a wildlife biologist hiked into hills northwest of Los Angeles and found the 4-year-old male mountain lion dead near a streambed.


Thursday, 6 December 2018

ARTICLE: Lions may disappear without urgent funding for conservation

If, like me, you’ve been avidly watching BBC One’s new nature series, Dynasties, you’ll probably be looking forward to the latest episode on lions, due to air this Sunday. In it, the protagonists, Charm and Sienna, will show us how hard it is to be a successful lioness in a land filled with enemies.

Under constant threat of marauding hyenas and cub-killing male lions, the two mothers have to fight for their lives to ensure their offspring have a chance of making it to adulthood. But the episode will also show us that the biggest enemy of lions isn’t other wild predators – it’s humans.


SIGHTING? UK: Is this footage of a panther prowling through Derbyshire woods?

A Belper man claims to have video evidence of a panther prowling through a Derbyshire woodland.

Jack Bryan, 28, believes he saw a big black cat roaming in the woods near Grindleford railway station on Tuesday while working in the Derbyshire Dales.

Mr Bryan, who works for Severn Trent, was clearing scaffolding off a nearby rooftop when he caught a glimpse of the "black panther" staring right at him.

Read more... 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

NEWSLINK: Horror as tiger farm uncovered in heart of Europe

Horrified cops have busted an illegal 'tiger farm' where big cats were being slaughtered for their fur while their meat was boiled into stock cubes.
The secret raid - dubbed Operation Trophy - was the culmination of years of work by agencies working together across the Czech Republic.

Sickened inspectors found one freshly killed tiger and a chest freezer stuffed full of rotting remains when they swooped on the lucrative operation in Prague.
They later discovered that bones turned into stock cubes were worth up an incredible £52 per gram - which is the equivalent of £1,472 per ounce.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Pirates are killing Bengal tigers

When Rafikul Mali became a pirate in the Sundarbans, he knew he was in for a rough and uncomfortable ride. He’d braced himself for repeated run-ins with fist-size spiders and some of the two-dozen species of snakes that slither through the mangrove forests skirting much of Bangladesh’s coast and extending into India. He’d even prepped for a relentless cat-and-mouse game with security forces, who have often tried—and just as often failed—to dislodge pirate gangs from their jungle redoubts.

Read more... 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

CARL WRITES: 10/11/18 - Grindleford, Derbyshire

Read the original story here.

"I’m afraid I just don’t see it! The eyewitness does describe what might have been a genuine big cat, however, I simply do not see one in the video. In fact, it’s very difficult to discern exactly what was being filmed at all. All I could make out in the short, blurry, ill-defined video was a black shape that doesn’t appear to be moving – maybe it’s simply a shadow! It really could be anything at all and not nessecerily animate. It’s also extremely difficult to estimate the dark objects dimensions (It might even be a black domestic cat) as the nearby trees and bushes do not clearly indicate the creature/object’s size.

Derbyshire does indeed have an interesting history of reports of this nature, with a definite spike in sightings reported since 2007.

However, with the lack of any discernible details it’s probably sensible at this time to dismiss this report as there is literally no good corresponding evidence to validate the sighting.

We should, however, probably expect further reports from Derbyshire in future."

CARL WRITES: 23/10/18 - Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

Read the original story here.

"I think it’s possible this might be an Oriental Shorthair, also known as the Rainbow Cat and occasionally “Dobby Cat”. However, the most appropriate title applied to the melanistic variety of this unusual breed must be the Oriental Panther Cat.

Originating from Thailand and belonging to the Siamese ‘family’ breed, Oriental Shorthairs are long-bodied cats with a sleek and muscular appearance, longish necks and slender tapered tails. They weigh between five and ten pounds and can be found in various solid colours such as white, blue (really grey), brown, chocolate, chestnut and of course jet black; and in many distinct patterns such as tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolour and even tricolour.

As a member of the Himalayan family of breeds, the Oriental Shorthair typically display peculiar “wedge-shaped” heads, tapering from the edge of the nose downward forming a triangle, making them appear angular and distinctive enough to seem almost panther-like when observed lineally. They also have characteristic long ears tipped at the top and rounded at the bottom and differ from the Oriental Longhaired version (recorded since 1995 – CFA) simply by possessing a pair of recessive long hair producing genes – in other words they are exactly the same breed just displaying variability in fur length.

The aforementioned jet black variety of the shorthair, the “Oriental Panther”, almost deserves its otherwise misleading name, as this beautiful shiny black domestic cat is rather pantherine in appearance, and can become quite aggressive. Today, these impressive domestic cats are popular pets and if allowed to roam freely, could very well be mistaken for small or juvenile panthers by would be eyewitnesses.

Oriental Panther Cats (or closely related breeds and/or crossbreeds) might potentially make up a small percentage of mysterious British big black cat reports. They are also a noticeably vocal breed that can emit deeper more aggressive sounds than typical domestic’s; that might make them seem larger and more intimidating than they actually are.

Mr Tom Pitt said “you don’t expect to see that sort of thing, It was the morning and I was barely awake”. This suggests there were probably unusual features visible, which were briefly observed and concluded to relate to the cat’s bulk when in reality might have had more to do with the total length of the animal, which compared to typical domestic cats is reasonably exaggerated in Oriental Shorthairs.

There is unfortunately little in the published photograph to accurately indicate the cat’s dimensions, and Mr Pitt is quoted as saying “It ran into the woods after that. I think we startled it, it was all so quick.”. Basically it was a brief encounter that convinced Mr Pitt it was not simply a typical domestic cat – and going by the photograph he might have been right.

As previously mentioned, Oriental Shorthairs are both sleek and muscular, with pronounced wedge shaped triangular heads, large ears tipped at the top and rounded at the bottom, large paws, longish necks, and slender tails ending in a point – with the possible exception of the dramatically pronounced base of the ears, all of these features can easily be observed in the cat in Mr Pitt’s photograph.

Mr Pitt said that he felt the animal he witnessed resembled a domestic cat but was noticeably larger (longer?) than what would typically be expected in domestic cats. This description along with the features clearly visible in the published photograph suggest a black Oriental Cat or another closely related breed/crossbreed might be responsible.

The mysterious cat photographed by Dog walker Mr Pitt at the Essendon end of the Hatfield House Grounds is definitely not that of a leopard or a jaguar (the two usual suspects for black mysterious cats in Britain), but also doesn’t seem to be that a typical domestic cat either. Therefore, I believe it’s reasonable to speculate that an unusual looking domestic cat breed such as an Oriental Panther Cat, or a closely related domestic breed of similar appearance, might have been misidentified as a black panther (Panthera pardus) from a distance.

Probably another genuine misidentification and definitely not any big cat species."

SIGHTING, UK: Dog walker stunned when 'beast bares teeth and growls' in Hertfordshire

Tom Pitt, 38, snapped the unidentified beast prowling the grounds at the historic Hatfield House yesterday.

While walking in an open grassy area, he noticed his dog fix a stare at a shape in the distance.

Unfortunately, the cat which caught his pooch’s attention seemed to be much larger than a domestic moggy.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, AUSTRALIA: Resident captures ‘big cat’ roaming fields in bizarre video

The video shows a large cat-like creature stalking its way through nearby fields.
Grant Denyer – who filmed the moment – can be heard remarking “there it is” as the animal moves into a clearing.

The creature – supposedly the Blue Mountains panther – occurred near his home outside Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.