Do 500 big cats roam the British countryside? Wildlife expert warns rural Britain has 250 black leopards and 250 puma as the study finds five carcasses with tell-tale gnaws on their bones
- Dr. Andrew Hemmings believes that 80 percent of the reports he's received are credible
- He identified bite marks on 5 animal carcasses the size of a leopard or puma
- Tooth prints from black leopards and pumas at Exmoor Zoo matched the samples
A wildlife expert believes there could be around 500 big cats frolicking in the UK's countryside.
Dr. Andrew Hemmings of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester believes there could be around 250 black leopards and 250 pumas in the wild.
There have been alleged sightings of big cats in the UK countryside for decades, taken with blurry photos, but there was little evidence, The Times reported.
Dr. Hemmings said that due to the consistency of sightings, the lack of evidence of inbreeding, and the ability to hunt deer, around 80 percent of the reports he received were credible.
A "big cat" caused panic in an upscale neighborhood in Hampstead in late May while roaming gardens
He said most of the witnesses and informants were reliable people like police officers and scientists.
Dr. Hemmings found bite marks on five animal carcasses the size of a leopard or puma. He says they could only be made by a non-native cat.
In the study, which the university plans to publish in a peer-reviewed journal, they fed black leopards and pumas at the Exmoor Zoo. They then saw that the dental prints matched their samples.
At around 4 p.m. on August 9, a large wildcat resembling a Savannah cat was caught on camera as it wandered over Coldham & # 39; s Common in central Cambridge.
Dr. Hemmings found bite marks on five animal carcasses the size of a leopard or puma
A large wildcat was caught on camera on August 9th while casually roaming a park in central Cambridge
Dan Underwood, a Cambridge resident who discovered the animal, said: “It was the size of a medium-sized dog, was slim and looked very agile. It was a light sand color with dark spots and large, pointy ears. Much bigger than a normal cat. & # 39;
It didn't have a collar and didn't seem to panic. It just passed. It passed, stopped for a second, and then moved on. & # 39;
A "big cat" caused panic in an upscale neighborhood in Hampstead in late May while roaming gardens.
An armed police force was deployed after frightened residents sounded the alarm.
Danny Reynolds of Exmoor Zoo said he believes the animal is a serval, which requires the owner to hold a dangerous wildlife license.
A cheetah-like cat was spotted in the same area last September, and Dr. Neetu Nirdosh said her children were too scared to play outside.
She said the big cat, which was reported to be a savannah, a house cat, circled her in the grass, baring her fangs, before biting and tugging her daughter's sweater.
Big cats have been sighted in various locations across the UK over the past twenty years
A Cambridge University employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, spotted the "big cat" in his kitchen window in central Cambridge in April
In April, another big cat was discovered by a Cambridge University employee who was taking a picture of his kitchen window.
The cat has been described as a "big-clawed Labrador" and has been spotted in a garden in central Cambridge.
In 2013, Dr. Hemmings, lecturer in animal sciences, spent a year on 20 animal skeletons, all of which had unusual tooth marks.
Some of the cattle and deer scraps found by farmers, landowners and volunteers were found under unusual circumstances, suggesting that they may have been killed by a large cat.