Sunday, 28 April 2019

CARL WRITES: 31/3/19 - Dunmow, Essex

Read the original story here.

"I think it is entirely possible that Tim Davis observed a genuine big cat behind his village home in Bardfield End Green in Dunmow. I presume the gym located above his garage provided a high observational vantage point allowing him to first spot the mystery animal from a window, and then he subsequently identified it when magnified through his binoculars. It’s just a shame he didn’t have time to also get a photograph.

Essex has a rich history of reports of both panther and puma-like animals; some of which are highly credible, and this area In the Uttlesford district would potentially provide a wild roaming big cat with many of the necessary ecological resources needed to survive.

I can completely understand the factory worker becoming wary of leaving his house after dark, especially if he feels convinced he has seen a large predator. However, if this truly was a leopard or a puma, the chances of it spending prolonged periods of time near human habitation is unlikely to say the least, It would be far more likely stalking nearby woodlands that border open farmland. Therefore, I doubt Mr Davies has much to worry about as both these species are highly secretive and shy animals; especially when they are surviving in low numbers. In most cases you wouldn’t even know if one was residing in the area.

From a distance, and during a brief observation, it might be difficult to differentiate between a melanistic leopard and a darkly pigmented puma; therefore it’s probably wise not to suggest a specific identity based on pigmentation until further corroborating evidence is acquired.

I would suggest Mr Davis purchase a reasonably priced motion activated night vision camera and secretly position it facing the trail where the beast was last seen, and to leave the camera untouched for at least a month for a better chance of results.

The animal, whatever it is, will have left trace evidence of its movements in the area, therefore a thorough and prolonged search for spoor, faecal remains, and snagged hairs could prove positive.

As for ghostly black dog traditions, I doubt the local legends of Black Shuck have much to do with modern reports of big cats in Essex.

Going by the shape and dimensions of the muddy footprint in the inserted photograph, and the presence of what appears to be claw marks, all indicate this is probably the track of a Canid most likely a large domestic dog.

Further evidence is required such as clear video footage or preferably some sort of biological sample for analysis would be ideal.

Anyone living in this area should remain vigilant. However, human attacks are unlikely to occur as both pumas and leopards have large ranges and would be very unlikely to stay in the same area for long. In Britain these animals appear to avoid human activity at all costs and would therefore be extremely unlikely to cause any problems. The large numbers of wild deer species, rabbits, and ground dwelling game birds, along with the occasional farmers lamb or sheep, would be ample for large predatory Felids to survive without bothering risking hunting human beings."

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