Tuesday, 24 September 2019

NEWSLINK: When One Big Cat Is Almost Like the Other

In 1947, as India was gaining independence from Britain, a maharaja in the mountainous state of present-day Chhattisgarh is said to have hunted down the last three Indian cheetahs. These cats have cultural links to the region dating back hundreds, if not thousands, of years: The word cheetah derives from the Sanskrit word citraka—“spotted one”—and in the 16th and early 17th centuries, the revered Mughal emperor Akbar kept more than 1,000 as his hunting companions. By the early 20th century, though, their numbers had shrunk, and in 1952 they were officially declared extinct on the subcontinent.

The Indian government has spent decades trying to bring cheetahs back. At first, conservationists imagined either importing or cloning Asiatic cheetahs, the subspecies that once thrived in India. When that strategy failed, they turned their attention to a closely related subspecies, found across Africa in pockets of the south, west, and east.

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NEWSLINK: India’s big cat surveys ‘over reporting numbers’

Surveys of India’s tiger inhabitants which have cheered conservationists by reporting sharp rises in numbers could have exaggerated, an investigation claims.

The survey group could have double-counted scores of tigers by misinterpreting digital camera entice pictures, in line with an evaluation of the counting methodology.

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, in July hailed an “historic achievement” after tiger numbers have been reported to have risen from 2,226 in a 2015 survey, to 2,967 this 12 months.

Officers mentioned they have been assured within the numbers as a result of greater than four-fifths of these counted had been photographed by 26,000 cameras arrange in recognized tiger habitats.

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NEWSLINK: Back-to-back mountain lion sightings reported near Isla Vista

“That way, the mountain lion went that way,” said Ian Issa and Jack Patnoe, motioning to police.

Issa and Patnoe say they missed coming face to face with a mountain lion at Devereux Lagoon by minutes.

“We’re trying to enjoy our day at the beach but we’re not trying to die today, you know what I mean,” said Patnoe.

Patnoe and Issa did come upon the person who potentially spotted the fourth mountain lion in the county within the last week, as he was talking to police just after 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.

“The cop was like are you sure it’s not a bobcat and he was like no I’ve lived here for 10 years it’s definitely a mountain lion,” said Issa, recounting the conversation he overheard.

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NEWSLINK: Did this Mississippi man see a black cat or something else?

Black panther sightings have been reported for decades in Mississippi, but the existence of such an animal has never been confirmed. However, a Natchez man said he recently saw something that he described as a black cat that was roughly the size of a Labrador retriever.

"It was actually Sunday afternoon — Sunday before last (Sept. 8)," Del Loy said. "It was after lunch around 2. I'd just stepped off the porch."

Loy said he looked toward a ridge behind his rural home where he's seen deer, bobcats and other wildlife when he saw something large and black running across an opening in the trees.

"This thing ran from my right to left," Loy said. "The distance it ran in my view was maybe 40 yards.

"It was running at a full-blast gate. I got a good view of it. It was probably 75 yards away. It was about the size of a black lab. It's head was small. It had a long cat-like tail. I'm 95 percent sure what I saw was a large cat."

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VIDEO: P-61 flees another mountain lion minutes before being killed on 405 Freeway

When P-61 was killed earlier this month crossing the 405 Freeway, the mountain lion was likely fleeing from another big cat protecting its territory, based on video surveillance.

Video released by the National Park Service shows what researchers think is P-61 being chased by an uncollared lion toward the freeway shortly before he was struck and killed by a car.

In the videos, the chased animal can be seen climbing a tree before another mountain lion ascends the same tree at 3:09 a.m. Sept 7. About 20 minutes later, both lions are seen coming down the tree, one after the other.

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NEWSLINK: California Couple's TV Night Interrupted By Mountain Lion Looking for a Bathroom

One California couple had a surprise visitor Sunday night.

Edward and Kathy Sudduth were relaxing in their home, watching some television, when a mountain lion suddenly appeared in their living room.
“We were just watching television and then all of a sudden, we heard a big bang,” Edward told Fox 40 News.

The large predator had been allegedly chasing their neighbor’s cat, when it accidentally ended up in the Sudduth home in Sonora, Calif.

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NEWSLINK: Fight legend nearly comes toe to toe with big cat in backyard

Retired mixed martial artist and Thousand Oaks resident Bas Rutten had a close call with a mountain lion recently.
Rutten lives in the Westlake Hills neighborhood. His home’s security cameras recorded the big cat coming into his yard around 12:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

Thirty minutes before it arrived, the homeowner had been meditating in the exact spot where the animal jumped over the wall and landed.

“If it had been a half an hour earlier—I meditate in the dark, there’s no light on. He would have been right next to me,” said Rutten, who owns Bas Rutten’s Elite MMA gym in Westlake.

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NEWSLINK: Huge Feline Spotted in Georgetown Is Pet Named 'Cookie'

A local veterinarian has solved the mystery surrounding a huge cat seen climbing up a fence at a Georgetown home.

Giulia di Marzo said she checked her Ring security camera footage Sunday morning to find video of the feline crawling up their fence about 4 a.m.

The video, which shows the large feline crawl up the wooden fence door, walk along the top like a tight rope and then launch itself into their yard, caused quite a stir on the neighborhood forum. Many thought it could be a mountain lion.

"This thing is huge and it has short hair. It is not any kind of domestic cat that I've ever seen before," di Marzo said.

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SIGHTING, UK: Expert tracker says sighting could be genuine

A big cat expert believes that photos taken of a 'beast' on Ilkley Moor could be genuine.

John Bilney has examined the image taken at the Cow and Calf rocks by Leeds student Billy Holmes last week, and thinks the creature pictured displays telltale signs of classic feline behaviour.

The Gloucestershire-based cat hunter has spent years tracking the beasts in the British countryside.

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CARL WRITES: Panther on the Roof

The existence of Alien Big Cats (ABC’s) around the world are typically considered to be highly unlikely by most experts owing to the lack of convincing evidence. Typically, the evidence consists of poor quality videos and photographs, ambiguous spoor, eye witness accounts, and the occasional controversial hair sample.

Current interest in big cat reports in Britain stems from the late 1950’s, with news stories of the Surrey Puma and the so called Fen Tiger, however, in October 1980, a puma, later christened Felicity by zoo keepers at the Highland Wildlife Park, was captured alive in Inverness-shire in Scotland and positively identified as a puma (Puma concolor). However, the case of Felicity has long been conveniently believed to be either wholly or partly faked.

Zoo director Eddie Orbell concluded that Felicity had been tamed and might not have been wild for long. So, no real mystery there it seems! In my professional opinion, there is no real mystery concerning big cats in Britain at all, for the majority of credible reports on file are simply those of escaped or released animals, and only occasionally (in my view) do these animals find each other and breed; producing a second generation.

OOP populations are probably not sustained via breeding and are more likely regularly ‘topped up’ by new escaped and/or released pets, often illegally purchased. These cats have very large territories and live for many years, so there need not be the hundreds (or even thousands) of big cats often claimed by the many big cat investigators involved.

It is completely true that typically most of the evidence for non-native big cats is poor. I myself find that the majority of reports are down to large domestic cats and dogs and other native species being wrongly identified (sometimes intentionally), but, in my opinion, the fact that Felicity was once a domestic animal doesn’t necessarily discredit her case, as most of the true big cats in Britain and elsewhere are likewise feral escaped/released animals.

This is also the case for the young black leopard (Panthera pardus) found recently prowling the roofs of a northern French town. The animal, weighing approx. 20kg (45lb) is about six months old, and about the size of a small Labrador dog. It had been domesticated and was reported to be unaggressive when encountered. A vet was then called who tranquilised the animal with a sedative dart.

Following its capture the panther was caged and handed over to wildlife officials who then handed it over to the Animal Protection League. It has since been transferred to an as of yet undisclosed location.

Even though this isn’t a British case, it’s refreshing to see good clear photographs (from various angles) which undoubtedly show a black leopard, albeit a young one.

A police source told La Voix du Nord (The Voice Of The North) that only a zoo would be able to obtain a permit to keep such an animal; hence it was most likely an illegal exotic pet. Police want to speak to the panther’s owner for endangering the public and to also find out where it came from.

If this animal had found itself in a more rural location it’s possible it would have disappeared into the wild, and if not recaptured en route, could have become a genuine ABC, much like Felicity was for an unknown period of time.

Leopards have a life expectancy of 12 – 17 years and can travel great distances undetected, and thrive in a variety of habitats including forests, mountains and grasslands. Territorial sizes vary geographically depending on the habitat and availability of prey. Therefore if the above panther had not been recaptured, it could have become responsible for starting many ABC reports over a large territory for many years.

Wherever it came from, it’s a pleasure to view perfect clear images of this stunning animal!

Read the story here.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

CARL WRITES: 28/8/19 - Powick, Worcestershire

Read the original story here.

The cat recorded skulking around St. Peter’s Church in Powick, Worcestershire, and reported in The Mirror, is also most likely a domestic cat going by its gracile anatomy and gait. It likewise appears to have the tell tail sharp pointed ears of a domestic cat, and might be also be wearing a collar. However, these latter features are admittedly not particularly clear in the video. If we presume that the headstones on the graves which the cat passes closely behind are standard sized headstones, then the cat does indeed seem fairly large. Powick is not particularly far from where I live in Warwickshire, therefore I intend to visit this location within the month and measure definitively the height and width of the headstones, which I expect are nonstandard (maybe the graves of children). There is of course every possibility that the cat in this video has no relevance to the previous reports of the so-called ‘Powick Puma’ and does not in any way discredit them. The colour of the cat in the video is not easily discernible but it appears to be dark, possibly dark brown, and seems to have a banded patterning on its tail. This cat looks much more like a wildcat than a puma and is thus probably a domestic cat of reasonably large dimensions. I will provide an update once I have had chance to visit the churchyard and located and measured the headstones. Watch this space!

CARL WRITES: 27/08/19 - Near Leeds, Yorkshire

Read the original story here.

The Daily Mail report provided by Mr. John Pearson appears to show a large domestic cat. This is evidenced by the cat’s large pointed ears and general body shape. The animal looks to be rather robust; likely a large male. In my opinion it seems probable that Mr. Pearson has unintentionally overestimated the distance of his observation (650 ft) and thus probably also overestimated the dimensions of the animal he observed. There are no species of true big cats with sharp pointed ears like we can clearly see in Mr. Pearson’s photograph; therefore I think we can be fairly confidant he has captured a reasonably large domestic breed.

CARL WRITES: Formosan Clouded Leopard Survival

A stunning clouded leopard subspecies thought to have been extinct for the last 30 years has been spotted in Southeast Taiwan. Officially declared extinct by zoologists in 2013 after not being seen alive since 1983, the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) attained cryptozoological status in 2018 after locals in the Southeast Taiwan town of DarenTaitung, reported seeing the ‘extinct’ cat in the forests.

In February 2019, Taiwan News reported two sightings by two different groups of rangers in Taitung County, both made in the summer of 2018. One report was of an individual climbing a tree and climbing a cliff in order to hunt mountain goats, while another was of an individual darting past a motorist on a road before retreating into a tree. According to the village chief Kao Cheng-chi, researchers are now working with the villagers to keep hunters away in an attempt to protect the animals and also to limit the destruction of their habitat.

A previous 13 year camera trapping study by zoologists failed to find even a single clouded leopard, which following excessive logging, forced the cats into the more mountainous regions.

In 1989, the skin of a young individual was found in the Taroko National Park area, which was the last confirmed report. Pugmarks reported in the 1990’s near Yushan National Park were suspected, but were not confirmed to be of a clouded leopard.
The Tawa Mountain Nature Reserve is a protected area encompassing approximately 190 square miles. It harbours the largest remaining primary forest in Southern Taiwan and comprises tropical and subtropical rainforest as well as temperate broadleaf and mixed forest and temperate coniferous forest – there is hope that this illusive big cat might have also migrated into this reserve.
Ironically, owing to the relative rarity of reports of live Formosan clouded leopards even before it’s alleged extinction, there was a hypothesis among a few researchers that the Formosan clouded leopard never existed, and that the pelts frequently worn by indigenous communities were Sunda clouded leopard pelts that were being traded between the Sunda Islands, China, and Japan.

The lesson - Never say never!

MYSTERY DOGS...? : Black Shuck appeared to a woman in Buxton at the precise moment her brother dropped dead

Many researchers have drawn parallels between the black dog legends of northern Europe and the modern folklore surrounding mystery cat sightings. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to post this article sent in by Anouska Anderson-Jakes here on the CFZ Mystery Cat blog:

Scholars of the Weird in Norfolk know that big black dogs spotted wandering close to churchyards at night are rarely good news. Black Shuck is the ghostly black dog said to roam in East Anglia inland and at the coast, often believed to be an omen of death, his name from the Old English word "scucca", meaning devil or fiend.

Reverend ES Taylor wrote about Black Shuck in 1850: "This phantom I have heard many persons in East Norfolk and even Cambridgeshire, describe as having seen as a black shaggy dog, with fiery eyes and of immense size, and who visits churchyards at midnight. And of course, across the border in Bungay, Abraham Fleming's famous account of "a strange and terrible wunder" in 1577 recounted the terrible tale of a beast that killed people at worship, leaving tragedy in its wake.


Topic Tags:Weird Norfolk

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SIGHTING, UK: The Fen Tiger has finally been caught on camera

The elusive Fen Tiger is a local legend, having been spotted across Cambridgeshire for more than 30 years.

The giant cat has bewildered those who have sighted it for decades.

However few people have ever actually been able to snap a pic of the mysterious creature.

But that's all changed now, one man has captured a video of the beast, seriously he has.

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NEWSLINK: ‘Extinct’ Leopard Spotted Alive For the First Time in Over 30 Years

A leopard species, believed to have been completely extinct, has been spotted in southeast Taiwan for the first time in over 30 years, prompting a push to protect the big cat from hunters and habitat damage. The Formosan clouded leopard was officially declared extinct in 2013, after it had not been spotted since 1983 and a 13-year-long study by zoologists failed to find even one leopard.

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NEWSLINK, courtesy of Mark Raines: Are there Big Cats loose in Dorset?

A wealthy Bournemouth business owner who claims he and his daughter saw a Big Cat walk through their garden in 'broad daylight' and a man who witnessed a 'panther with a deer in its mouth' in the New Forest are just two of the people who have told their story to a Verwood film-maker.

Now Mike Coggan, whose initial film about the south west's Big Cat phenomenon scored more than 11,000 YouTube hits in two days, wants funding so he can investigate the long-running mystery properly.

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NEWSLINK: Bolivia fires ravaged big cat habitat

A conservation group says one of Latin America’s key habitats for jaguars suffered extensive devastation during fires in Bolivia.

The South America director for the New York-based Panthera group said Wednesday that a “focal point” of burning has been around San Ignacio de Velasco, where a number of wild cat species live.

Esteban Payán says any jaguars, pumas and other wild cats that survived would be struggling because deer and other prey died in the fires. He spoke by telephone from Bolivia after traveling there to assess the situation.

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

NEWSLINK: Young film-makers set out to solve the mystery of Big Cats roaming Southern England

A Dorset film-maker is seeking funds to launch 'a full investigation' on reports that Big Cats are loose in the English countryside.

Rumour has it that Big Cats are stalking the English countryside and a film-maker from Verwood, in Dorset, intends to discover the truth.

The past few years have seen repeated reports of panther sightings across Southern England—including this 2016 letter to the Editor of the Bournemouth Echo, in which Martin Hill, from Fordingbridge, in Hampshire, says he spotted ‘a big black cat at the edge of the wood’ while out walking on a footpath near Sturton Hatch.

The police was also called in Westbourne last year, after residents thought they had seen a huge creature roaming down a local road.

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SIGHTING, UK: Big black cat 'the size of a large dog' spotted roaming Yorkshire countryside

A big black cat claimed to be the 'size of a large dog' was spotted roaming the East Yorkshire countryside.

Footage taken in fields near Skidby shows what appears to be a large black cat, described by the man who filmed it as "much bigger than a domestic animal".

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Wednesday, 4 September 2019

NEWSLINK: A glimpse of Ice Age parasites in 17,000-year-old puma poop

Even after thousands of years of lying around, crap can tell quite the tale. Reporting this week in the journal Parasitology, a team of archaeologists sifting through a knob of puma poo has extracted a 17,000-year-old sample of DNA from Toxascaris leonina, a roundworm that still plagues felines today.

In addition to providing humankind with its oldest example of parasite DNA to date, the dessicated dookie raises some questions about the disease ecology of these big-bodied cats.

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NEWSLINK: Southeast Asia Must Confront its Illegal Tiger Problem

There are more tigers living behind bars than in the wild. The figures are staggering: Fewer than 4,000 tigers roam free worldwide while double that number are estimated to be held in breeding facilities across Asia. The vast majority of these captive tigers are in Chinese farms, but the big cat is also being bred in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam — for profit not conservation.

A new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has found that over the past two decades more than half of the tigers seized in Thailand and a third of those in Vietnam came from captive breeding facilities. The analysis has renewed longstanding worries that “farming tigers leads to illegal trade in tiger parts and stimulates demand,” Dr. Richard Thomas, TRAFFIC’s global communications coordinator, told The Diplomat by email.

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NEWSLINK: 'Cougar' Reported To Surrey RCMP Was Actually Just A Chunky Housecat

Police responding to a cougar sighting near a Metro Vancouver elementary school were in for a surprise when they found the big cat was smaller than expected — much smaller.

In fact, the supposed 150-pound cougar turned out to be a “large domestic cat.”
A woman who lived in the South Surrey neighbourhood emailed Peace Arch News early Tuesday to report that a cat “maybe 150lbs” had walked down the road in front of her neighbours’ house Monday. The sighting was near Semiahmoo Trail Elementary School.

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NEWSLINK: Woman spots big cat on morning walk in Walnut Creek

Roaming the grass along Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek near Cardigan Court Wednesday was a big cat, shocking a woman on her morning walk.

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NEWSLINK: Neighbors Report Cougar Sighting In South Sacramento Neighborhood

Multiple people called 911 Wednesday night, reporting a mountain lion sighting.

Animal Control officers and a Fish and Wildlife warden went on the prowl, looking for something not normally seen in the south Sacramento neighborhood.

Tammy says she called police after seeing what looked like a mountain lion up on the fence.

“I wasn’t about to get out, so I just dialed 911 and told them I saw a big cat, mountain lion or cougar or something,” Tammy said.

She said she’s certain this was not a pet house cat.

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NEWSLINK: Leopard attacks another woman, four camera traps set up at village

Hours after a 65-year-old woman was mauled by a leopard at Marauri village under Neuria police station, 2 km from Mala forest range of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) on Saturday evening, another woman of the same village was attacked by a big cat in the early hours of Sunday when she went outside her house.

However, divisional forest officer, forest and wildlife division, Sanjeev Kumar, however, claimed that he could not find any pugmarks of a leopard during spot inspection. It has not rained in the area for the past three or four days.
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SIGHTING, UK: 'Big cat' spotted prowling around gravestones in village churchyard in Worcester

A 'big cat' has been filmed prowling around gravestones of a rural village churchyard in Worcester.

A mum and son were out enjoying an evening stroll at the ancient church when they saw the large beast skulking around St Peter's Church, in Powick.
Locals have now branded the beast the 'Powick Puma' and follows a spate of similar sightings in recent months.

Footage shows the animal, which resembles a puma or large wildcat, walking through the grounds and sloping behind head stones.

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SIGHTING, UK: 'Big cat' the size of a dog is spotted prowling Yorkshire countryside

A photographer who spotted a 'big cat' prowling through the Yorkshire countryside has said he's 'never seen anything like it' - claiming it was the size of a dog.

John Pearson, 46, was taking pictures at St Aidan's Nature Reserve near Leeds when the mysterious creature caught his eye at around 5am on August 17.

He claims it was so large he was able to spot it at a distance of around 650 feet, and immediately rejected suggestions it was a household cat.