Thursday, 29 December 2011

Researchers and the Daily Mail claims 'big cat' bodies are being hidden by the Ministry of Defence!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079676/MoD-chiefs-hid-evidence-big-cats-prowling-UK-new-book-claims.html...as if connections between UFOs, ghosts, demons and big cats were not absurd enough, the Daily Mail are now claiming that, according to a new book, 'big cat' bodies have been scraped off the roads by the Ministry of Defence and hidden in secret hideout's across Britain. Not only had the website taken a photo of a Jungle Cat - photographed in Kent in 1998 by Harry Matthews - and claimed it was the 'beast of Bodmin', but now the so-called British 'big cat' situation is once again being relegated to folklore and made a laughing stock by claims of covert operations involving secret laboratories hiding the alleged carcasses of exotic cats. Now, let's face it - if a large cat was killed on UK roads and reported to police or whoever, then we've no doubt the body wold be removed - but this isn't some dark conspiracy but the simple fact that a large, non-native animal dead/or injured on a UK road SHOULD be removed anyway, because surely it's the right of the police or whoever to remove it ?

The hilarious thing about the article is the mention of aliens and 'big cats' together - as if the sceptics didn't have enough reason to disbelieve such claims of alleged exotic cats in the wilds of England.

Come on, let's face facts - if a wolf, elephant, bear, or bloody flying pig or any non-native animal larger than a dog was knocked down on roads in the UK it would be removed - we know of cases where raccoon have been removed after being struck by a vehicle - but there's never been a suggestion of some evil conspiracy regarding prowling raccoons!! 'Big cats' in the UK will never be admitted to by any authoritative body, simply due to money - money is always the key factor - and also, we're pretty sure that any authoritative body has the right to remove whatever they like from roads, especially if it's a danger to the public. We seem to forget that MOD stands for Ministry Of Defence - Defence is the key word, so is it any big deal that on the rare occasion a leopard or puma that gets run down and reported to police, it ends up in some laboratory in the bowels of the earth ? Who cares ? Surely it's their right to want to know where it came from and why on earth should they let anyone else know - especially the press and researchers who claim that finding such a body would be the 'Holy Grail'. Why would it be the 'Holy Grail' ? Or maybe it would only be the 'Holy Grail' to that specific individual.

Wasn't a lynx shot dead in Suffolk a few years ago ? Wasn't a lynx caught in a back garden in London in 2001 ? Haven't leopard cat and jungle cat been shot and run over from the Isle of Wight and Shropshire ? Who cares! It's newspaper fodder for a few weeks and then it fades. There is no big conspiracy, never has been - but if you were driving along a country road and knocked down a large, exotic cat and you reported it to the authorities, why on earth should they share this information with some bloke down the road who collects 'big cat' news clippings ? Large cats DO roam the UK countryside, but the MOD or whoever DO NOT have to admit to such things if they feel that the interest and the safety of the public is vital.

We doubt very much that hundreds of 'big cat' carcasses line the shelves of the MOD basements. However, as a governing body they have the right to surely stash whatever they like in their alleged secret bunkers - and the facts that most of these conspiracy stories are nothing more than hearsay gets the conspiracy theorists more and more excited. The officials must be chuckling away at such absurd suggestions.

UFO anoraks, for years, have been harping on about secret underground bases hiding alien craft and bodies - as if they have the right to know! Decades after the 1970s UFO craze nothing has changed. people still feed off mystery and conspiracy and can create conspiracy from the depths of nothing.

Considering the fact there aren't as many large, exotic cats in the wilds of the UK as most think, any that die in the woods would be scavenged at quite a rate - that's how nature works, hence the fact we don't find thousands of dead deer, foxes, badgers in the woods. For some odd reason big cat 'researchers' have been stumped for years as to how and why large cats such as puma, melanistic leopard and lynx roam Britain - but like all mysteries - and the fact that so many researchers think they are chasing ghosts instead of flesh and blood animals - it comes in waves, in flaps, and it brings with it the fright brigade armed with conspiracy theories, petty politics and camouflage gear. How the authorities must be laughing - giggling away as the conspiracy theorists cloud the water.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

5-ft long black cat seen at Sheppey

Over the last ten years or so there have been numerous reports of a large black cat on the Isle of Sheppey. Many people point to the fact the someone on the island once owned a large cat - but this was in a fact a puma. On 6th December 2011 at lunch-time a window cleaner spotted a 5-ft long black cat at a distance of just fifteen-feet away in the vicinity of Leysdown. Interestingly, the witness knew exactly what he'd seen as during the summer he'd seen a similar, albeit smaller cat in Ashford. The witness enquired at some of the local properties and was shocked to find that several people had previously seen the cat.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Leopard sighting on marshes

Kent Big Cat Research will be investigating an undisclosed area of East Kent marsh land where a black leopard has been sighted by a dog walker (11th December) and remains of several animals have been found. The sighting, which took place at 2:30 pm concerned a dog walker whose pet ran off into a reed bed and startled an enormous black cat which bounded away from the undergrowth with a hare in its mouth. Further investigation by the witness revealed several sheep carcasses and other animal bones. Although animals such as the leopard do not have fixed dens, such an elusive predator may lay up somewhere where it is comfortable and drag prey into such an area. Females also raise their cubs in secluded areas - this could be under a fallen tree or such. Like so many sightings received each year, details will not be posted here, as this is clearly an area where a large cat has been resting up for a while. The last thing we need are trigger happy lunatics and newspaper reporters visiting the area.

Friday, 9 December 2011

189 sightings for 2011 and a fox kill

In 2011 more than 180 reports of so-called 'big cats' were received by Kent Big Cat Research, the latest batch coming from Sevenoaks (lynx), Gravesend (black leopard), Maidstone (black leopard) and a fox kill found by witness James Mitson near Tunbridge Wells where previously deer kills and leopard scat had been found. The fox, which was found in a field during early December appeared fresh but when the witness returned to the carcass it had been stripped. This kill was not the work of a scavenging fox - the fur had been rasped, ribs chewed and occasional puncture marks were found on the flesh, there were no tufts of fur or mess around the carcass - the hallmark of a large cat. The area of the find is currently under investigation. In November 2011 a deer had been hit by a car in the Bromley area. A witness swerved to avoid the carcass but when he returned the next day the carcass had been stripped. Puma rarely eat prey they have not killed, but a leopard would most certainly feast on road kill.

In 2011 more than 80 reports were also received from Sussex (some of these may be included in a book, 'Mystery Animals Of...Sussex', which Neil Arnold is currently writing), and there were also 30 reports received from London and its outskirts, including 53 reports from Surrey. 57% of sightings received from the 189 Kent sightings concerned what appeared to be black leopard, 28% described puma, 11% lynx, the rest were Jungle Cat. Deer, fox, domestic cat and livestock kills were investigated throughout the county, paw print casts taken from varying sites, leopard scat found on eight occasions and also leopard hair found - two hairs were found on a sheep carcass near Rolvenden, a few miles from Ashford.

Sadly, the year was tainted by sightings of a 'white tiger' and 'lion' elsewhere in the country - the fact that these stories even made the news is a worrying factor. Such stories also make a mockery of decent research. Strangely, although exotic cats have been photographed, filmed, shot dead, and run over in the past, and all over the country, there is still an alarming amount of scepticism. Sceptics continually argue that there is no evidence such animals exist despite the already mentioned hair, scat, paw prints and kills.

What the future holds remains to be seen - some 'big cat' researchers, rather bizarrely, don't seem to want this so-called mystery solved - maybe they feel that if such a situation is resolved then they would no longer have a hobby to maintain. Worryingly, sightings of so-called 'big cats' are still relegated to folklore alongside ghosts and UFOs, and the Loch Ness 'monster'. This is down to the fact that despite some police, agricultural, zoological interest, on the whole the British 'big cat' situation is simply not accepted by authorities. This is quite understandable in the sense that if such an enigma is officially investigated then it would cost a lot of money - but all the while there are no attacks on humans (only a handful of alleged attacks have taken place and these are all open to debate) then the authorities may feel there's no need to create unwanted hysteria. The major issue is that farmers ARE losing sheep - but not at an alarming rate. Members of the public are losing domestic animals such as cats and dogs - many cases have been investigated where cats and dogs have been stripped clean - but there is no red alert - and when there is, it is usually press related.

Whilst it's important that sightings continue to be collated and evidence collected, 'big cats' in Britain are at a stalemate...until the next exaggerated story hits the local newspapers. A vicious circle indeed, as are the theories which continue to mention phantasmal animals, prehistoric survivors, unknown species, government cover ups etc. No wonder the existence for 'big cats' in Britain is continually scoffed at.

Photo's by James Mitson December 2011 showing fox before and after.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

More cat scat...

We often receive emails from people wondering where to look for 'big cats' in the wild, and what signs to look out for. Signs of 'big cat' activity are relatively easy to find if one knows what they are looking for. A contact named James Mitson has been finding deer kills, paw prints and scat for a while now in Kent woodland. Recently, this scat was found in a dense area where there have been numerous deer kills - the scat is full of deer fur. Photo's courtesy of James Mitson


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Deal leopard

"My wife and I were attending an alarm call out in Deal, Kent on Thursday (17th Nov 2011) night. The time was approx 0100 hours and we had driven from Margate so were fully awake and alert. We were about a mile away from Sholden on the Sandwich to Deal road near the fish farm. I was driving and said to my wife “ did you see that?” my wife immediately said “ the big black cat! with the really long tail”. The creature was sitting on the grass by the hedges on the left hand side and as we approached with headlights on main beam it slinked into hedge and out of sight. The creature in question was much larger than a domestic cat but not as big as a lion or tiger, but moved in the same way , almost with a swagger."

Monday, 14 November 2011

Latest 'big cat' activity...

On November 13th 2011 at 4pm a couple walking their dogs at Iwade, saw a large black cat run across a field. The animal, which was less than 100 metres away, was bigger than the dog, feline in posture and headed off towards the direction of trees not far from the School Lane area.


At Dymchurch a male witness found the carcass of an eaten fox in his back garden. The animal had been stripped of its fur, a hallmark of a cat kill. In most cases a cat kills via the throat, or back of the neck, leaving puncture marks. The flesh is then rasped with a sandpaper-like tongue. Fur or fleece is often peeled back and the head often left. Photo's courtesy of Kevan A.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lynx sighting and others


On 30th October at 10:30 am two female witnesses travelling on the 18 bus through Upper Hardres, spotted a large, gingery coloured cat sitting a few yards away in the adjacent field. The cat remained unphased by the sound of the bus. Both women stated the animal had large, tufted ears and resembled a lynx. Recently a black leopard was observed by a motorist travelling at dusk through the Alkam Valley in the vicinity of Cowgate Lane. A large black cat with a long tail crossed the road in front of the vehicle. The witness had previously been sceptical regarding sightings of 'big cats' in the countryside. Another black leopard was seen in broad daylight by a cyclist travelling on a pathway in the village of Blue Bell Hill, not far from Maidstone. The cat was seen within the vicinity of Kits Coty House, an ancient stone structure.

Also, recently, sheep killed in a field in North Devon are being investigated with trigger cameras being set up in the hope of catching the predator on film. The sheep were said to have been killed by a large cat. Photographs courtesy of John Estall.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Recent Bengal Cat sightings

A Mr Rowley writes:
'I, like you believe that big cats are present wild in Kent. However, my wife and I thought we saw one today at Hextable, which turned out not to be. At first we were convinced that it was a much larger animal than it turned out to be.

We had just pulled out of the Whiffens Farm business park when we saw in the field across the road a large cat with a long tail walking through the crops about 200m away. Its tail looked very long for a domestic cat and it looked quite tall. It also did not walk like a normal cat. I took some photos, (which I unfortunately deleted later. I bought it to the attention of a local across the road who although he didn’t see it said that it was a Bengal cat belonging to Whiffens Farm. I didn’t believe him as I have seen a few Bengals. Anyway, we realised that we could get a closer look if we drove up the road beside the field. Sure enough, there was the same cat walking along the road with a serious amount of attitude. It was indeed a Bengal but the biggest I have ever seen standing well over 30cm at the shoulder and a good 50cm long body and the tail was probably about the same. It was definitely a Bengal cat though.
The thing is , that when it was in the field with nothing else close by to compare it with, it seemed even larger than it was. Also the incredibly long tail looked distinctly leopard like. As Bengals ( which are a hybrid between a domestic cat and an Asian Spotted cat) are becoming more popular I am wondering how many sightings are of cats like this, or even this particular specimen. They don’t behave like your average cat in that they walk more upright, which together with the long tail just adds to the impression of size. It was also dark, with dark spots on a dark background in appearance with a more gingery hue around the head.'

This echoes a similar report from a J. Cotton:
'
I was sitting at the yard I keep my horses at , that is surrounded by trees and undergrowth with a small stream, when a large sandy colour cat came through the gate. It was about a foot and a half in length and about a foot or so off the ground. It had pointy shape ears and both light and dark sand colour fur with leopard style patchy spots with black around the outside and a darker brown inside. It did not seam bothered by us and the horses were not bothered as though they were used to it being there. It walked accross the field and along the side of the stream in the bushes then back across the field  and along the back of our tent and the rear of the stables . It then went into the bushes and undergrowth at the back of the field . My friends son followed it and it did not appear bothered but then disapeared into the undergrowth out of site. We have previously had strange things happen at the yard since we moved in about 5 months ago like the tent  we kept food in having a slash mark  down it when we arrived one morning that had not been there the night before, but we assumed that it had maybe been teenagers that had climbed the gate. We then had an episode where one of our horses had fur missing from its back with a large long cut line that looked like it had been cut with a thin sharp blade, rather like when a domestic cat scratches with its middle claw.  We are now a bit for our horses and when we have children in the field. Last weekend we had an episode also where two of the horses were displaying unusual behaviour snorting and pacing at one end of the field, and very erratic. They calmed down a bit when moved to our other field , but when we were walking the line of trees and bushes to see if we could find anything there was movement like something larger than the pheasents or a fox  but not as tall as a person in the trees and bushes .Do you think this is likely to have been the same cat causing these things. Unfortuenetly we did not have a camera and the mobile phone we had was flat so we were unable to get a picture. Our  yard is in an area surrounded by fields and woods in the Goudhurst Road area of Staplehurst, Kent.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Big cat sightings around London ? Now read the book.

MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON is a brand new book from Neil Arnold. Weighing in at over 300 pages, and published by CFZ Press, this unique volume looks at a bizarre menagerie of creatures said to have roamed England's capital city. With a whole chapter devoted to tales of the Surrey puma, the beast of Sydenham, the Winchmore Hill lioness, the Edgware tiger, and the Shooters Hill cheetah, MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON is a must have for any naturalist, historian, folklorist or anyone with an interest in the unusual. Forget Sherlock Holmes...Neil Arnold ventures into the concrete jungle and from its darkest corners investigates tales of vampires, giant rats, huge out of place birds, unusual River Thames inhabitants, insect swarms, rampant wolves, ghostly bears and animals which have escaped zoo parks and menageries. The book, available from Amazon, is the first of its kind to collate sightings, reports and evidence of unusual animals in the city. Perfect reading for a crisp autumnal evening.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Some early October sightings

During the first week of October several witnesses observed a large, black cat with a long tail in fields at an undisclosed location in Tonbridge. On 12th October 2011 at 4:30 pm a bus driver named Mr Wyatt was driving his out of service vehicle from Brookland to Ashford on the A2070 when he saw a large (4 ft long) dark coloured cat crossing a field near the turn off for Hamstreet.

There have also been recent puma and lynx sightings at East Sussex.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Where the wild things are!

The Kentish Express ran an article in July 2011 highlighting the various calls Kent police receive regarding strange animals. The image, taken from the article, written by James Scott, does, unfortunately make a mockery out of some of the more genuine reports of 'out of place' animals with mention of 'big cats', 'leopards', 'black cat', 'wild cat' an 'emu' and even a 'cheetah', making the article a complete farce. Although some large animals such as dholes, have escaped from zoo parks in the past, the countryside is not a haven for wolves, a cheetah or an emu! One can see why sightings of 'big cats' aren't taken seriously.

Black leopard sighting at Chattendean

5th October 2011

Juvenile black leopard seen at approximately 4:00 pm by two people metal detecting on land close to privately owned woodland. Animal stalked through undergrowth a few feet away. Animal described as having an extremely long tail.

Friday, 30 September 2011

More September sightings

Monday 26th September 2011 - 5:00 am, in vicinity of Beaconsfield Rd, Canterbury. Female witness walking home from work heading towards a dimly lit alleyway, saw a hulking shape at end of alley which she at first took to be a human. Witness walked to within ten metres and noticed it was a black animal which reflected green in its eyes. The cat was spooked by the witness and sprang into the darkness. The woman continued her route past the area the cat had been seen but there was no sign of the animal. Black leopard also seen at Blean Wood.

Thursday 29th September 2011 - 4:30 pm
Angler spotted labrador-sized black cat whilst fishing at Paddlesworth Lakes, near Snodland. Animal was sitting on its haunches on a woodland pathway. Angler noted the length of the tail. Witness went back to fetch his camera but when he returned the animal had slinked off into the woods.

Friday 30th September 2011 - 8:00 am
Woman walking her dog on country lane at Cooling, near Strood, spotted large black animal fifty metres away. Woman thought the animal was a labrador until it turned to face her. The animal was a large cat which had a swagger to its walk, and a long, thick tail. The animal sprang up a bank and disappeared towards fields.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Deer kill at Tunbridge Wells




The following photo's were taken by James Mitson in 2011, who, whilst during a walk in forest area between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, stumbled across the eaten carcass of a deer. The deer shows all the hallmarks of a 'big cat' kill - puncture mark to throat, bones chewed away, and the almost surgical precision of the way the fur and flesh is rasped away. Scat was also found a few miles from this area as well as part of a deer up a tree. All photo's used with permission of James Mitson.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

From the files: The Great Storm of 1987

Although popular belief is that the population of 'big cats' in the UK today are the result of animals released after the introduction of the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act, there have been other incidents which may well have enabled exotic cats to roam the UK. In 1987 a severe storm ripped through Kent - wallabies, monkeys, wild boar, and large cats most certainly escaped into the wilds - some of these (wallaby and boar) establishing themselves. Two conflicting reports from the time claimed that a large cat had escaped from Howeletts Zoo, situated near Canterbury.

From 13/10/87: 'Leopard on loose' - A snow leopard which escaped on Friday from Howletts Zoo, near Canterbury, after a tree crushed its cage, was still at large last night. "So far the animal hasn't been spotted," a Kent police spokesman said.

On 22/10/87 - 'Leopard spotted' - The clouded leopard (?!) which escaped from Mr John Aspinall's zoo near Canterbury, Kent, when a tree crushed its cage during last Fridays storms, was still on the loose last night. Officers said there had been two possible sightings, but attempts to lure it into traps failed.'


It's also worth noting that sightings of a black leopard also seemed to hit the headlines around the time of the storm and for a few years afterwards. See clipping


September sightings

Although updates have only been occasional - too many sightings to list on the site - in the last month there have been some impressive reports. A lynx was observed in daylight by a motorist and his wife in the village of Sole Street, near Meopham. The animal crossed the road in front of the vehicle at a distance of 25-feet. A black leopard was seen at High Halstow in the vicinity of the RSPB area by a woman walking her Border Collie. The cat emerged from the undergrowth - the witness stated the cat was the same size as her dog. Also in September there was another daylight sighting, this time a black leopard report from Wormshill, a male witness walking his dog spooked a large, six-foot long cat which ran towards the meadow. An elderly woman had her domestic cat attacked by a large cat which left scratch marks on the hind quarters of the domestic cat and there have been further reports from Sevenoaks, Gravesend, and from Sussex.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Recent sightings

During the first week of September there have been varying clusters of reports from all over Kent. The most recent reports have come from Sheppey, Kennington, and Hythe - this involved scratch marks found high up a tree. Although a recent Daily Mirror article printed a photo of a domestic cat, which they called the 'beast of Burnham', after sightings elsewhere in the country, on Friday 2nd September a puma was observed at Kennington, Ashford. A male witness observed the four-and-a-half foot long animal from his bedroom at 11:30 pm whilst watching fireworks. Meanwhile, at Sheppey a male witness, whilst jogging observed a big black animal which ran down a track on the afternoon of 4th September. Other reports, currently under investigation have been received but will not be listed on here.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Is this the 'beast' of Essex ? Of course not...


On 22nd August the Daily Star described an encounter at Ongar, Essex with a 'big cat', accompanying the article was a photo of the 'mystery' animal. Kent Big Cat Research, along with several other researchers, vets, zoologists, naturalists, were also shown the image and all replied that the cat in the photo was nothing more than a large domestic. Sadly these type of stories still crop up in the UK press. Does anyone remember the cat caught on camera in Sussex a few years back ? The image clearly shows a domestic cat and yet the gent who took the photo is still adamant the animal is a 'black panther'.

Most recent, day-time 'big cat' sightings

Over the last month there has been a wave of reports from East Kent. There have also been two impressive daylight sightings, both concerning black leopard. On Monday 22nd August 2011 at 4:30 pm a Mr West and his wife were looking after their grandchildren and took them to The Glen, on the Isle of Sheppey. Whilst walking down a woodland path, Mr West, a retired scientist, with a zoology degree, observed a large, black animal sitting on the pathway 40 yards ahead. Like most 'big cat' witnesses, Mr West initially thought the animal must be a dog until he got a better view and realised it was a large cat - its tail was extremely long and the way it slinked off into the undergrowth was not the behaviour of a dog. The previous day at Dungeness, a woman named Patricia was walking her dog at 6:30 am. The area, full of overgrown pathways and woods, had previously spooked her large dog which had sniffed out some extremely large paw prints. As Patricia's dog sat in the back of her jeep she noticed it was staring at some bushes. Suddenly, from the undergrowth an enormous black cat emerged and slinked along the fence line. Patricia attempted to reach for her binoculars but her movement was sensed by the cat which looked at her then casually made its way out of sight.  In both instances the witnesses got a very clear view of the animal and a third daylight encounter took place on Tuesday 30th August 2011 at Etching Hill. A man jogging at 8:00 am on a bridle path was stunned to see a massive black cat sitting its haunches observing rabbit and sheep. The cat did not see the man, but the male witness hurried from the area, arriving home to his partner commenting that he looked as "white as a ghost". The witness stated categorically that the animal was an enormous cat measuring approximately six-feet in length.

Of course, when such reports appear in local newspapers, the witnesses, and those who investigate such reports are targeted by cowardly internet users who make it their days obsession to write insulting comments from the comfort of their armchairs. Those who cannot see any further than their noses really should get out more and study the wildlife around them. In all three instances neither witness thought about taking a photo - because the last thing they expected to see on a daily jaunt was a 'big cat' Even so, sceptics need to realise that whilst some reports are misinterpretation there is a strong core of reports every year, across the UK, which prove that large, exotic cats DO inhabit the UK. The biggest concern is the ignorance of those sceptics who not once are able to disprove. Whilst one can simply scoff at a report, it's time sceptics proved that a big cat did not kill a sheep, and understand that native animals in the UK do not kill the same way as a leopard. Sceptics need to look into the history of such sightings, and examine all the evidence put forward rather than stating that such animals do not exist simply because they haven't seen one. This naive attitude is laughable, but also extremely sad. When paw prints, hair samples, and scat are proven to belong to a large cat such as a leopard or puma, why do sceptics continue to debate it ? Does the fact they could be wrong mean that their sad existence no longer has worth ? The cats being seen in the wilds of the UK are not ghosts or aliens, they are simply out of place, but well established wild animals, and there's nothing that mysterious about it. The sad fact is that whatever evidence is produced, some sceptics refuse to accept it, despite their inability to disprove it.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Puma sighting at Horton Kirby

Mid August 2011, 7:00 am - male witness driving to work, noticed a large animal laying in road 100 metres away. Animal got up and slowly walked away. Witness described it as being "...sandy coloured, having big back legs and a long tail with a black tip."

The year previous same witness observed a lynx in a field.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Tonbridge black leopard sighting

Friday 12th August 2011
8pm
Male witness running on a remote woodland path with his labrador. The area is a cross country track between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, flanked by thick woods. As they came around the bend, approximately 150 metres away they saw a large, black animal sitting on the pathway which at first glance the witness took to be a dog. When the animal casually sauntered off into the woods he realised it was a cat - larger than his own labrador dog.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Hawkinge leopard

Around midnight, during the early part of August 2011, two people travelling on a country lane, half a mile east of the rubbish tip at Hawkinge, surprised an enormous cat which cleared the road in one bound. The cat, which was extremely dark in colour, had a tremendously long tail, and with this measured approximately seven-feet in length and appeared just ten metres away. The witness, some 16 years previous had seen a similar cat.

Daylight leopard sighting

On Thursday 11th August 2011 at 1:15pm a female motorist named Jayne was travelling through Canterbury, on the Canterbury Road, A291, when she observed an enormous black cat in the middle of the field. The field, situated before the bend of Broad Oak Stores, just past the Punch Tavern public house, enabled the animal to stand out quite clearly, so if anyone else has seen the cat please get in touch.

Also this week there have been sightings from Sevenoaks (two), Sheppey, and Ashford.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A28 Ashford leopard sighting

Reports of 'big cats' seen in the daylight are reasonable common - like a domestic cat, a leopard/puma will bask in the sun, saunter across a field etc. On Monday 8th August at 3pm a couple driving on the A28 - from Tenterden to Ashford, got a clear view of a large, powerful, black animal which shot across the road from the Singleton side and headed towards the Great Chart side. Although the Great Chart bypass was busy, the witnesses were the only car on the road for this sighting.

A very old leopard story...

One of the most popular theories to explain as to why large, exotic cats roam the UK, concerns the introduction of the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act. During the 1960s and early '70s it is a known fact that many people across Britain owned 'big cats', as pets. However, whilst many animals, especially puma kittens and black leopard cubs, were released around the time (despite the fact that many researchers believe this is not the case, bizarrely), and simply explain the current populations of cats in the UK, there are also an abundance of stories from centuries previous which suggest that leopard, puma, lynx, were inhabiting the woods. Of course, such animals may have escaped from private menageries, but the older reports are far more important with regards to piecing together a puzzle which the press, and some researchers believe is a modern jigsaw of mystery - but it isn't. Recently researcher Richard Muirhead discovered a fascinating clipping from the Blackburn Standard of 8th June1836 which states: 

'LEOPARD HUNT – On Monday last a strange-looking animal having been seen in the fields near Wheathamstead, Herts, a small party went in search,supposing that it was a deer which had been scared out of Brocket-hall-park by the gloomy looks of its noble occupier. Great was their surprise at finding in a hedge a large leopard, which stole away, followed at a respectful distance by the sportsmen, who were only armed with fowling-pieces loaded with swan shot. As it was endeavouring to escape it met a labourer at work in the fields whom it attacked and dangerously wounded, but his life was saved by a mastiff fastening on the leopard, and enabling Mr Norman Thrale to approach within a few yards, and disable it with a discharge of swan shot. It was shortly afterwards destroyed, and was found to weigh 14 stone. It had breakfasted off a dog, whose head was found. It is not known where the beast had escaped from.'

In Kent there are numerous reports of large cats on the loose dating back as far as the 16th century. Some, as already mentioned, have escaped from a private collection, but such reports are not scarce, and suggest that large cats have been with us a lot longer than many realise. The Victorian travelling menageries often lost animals, and not all were recaptured or shot dead.






Thursday, 4 August 2011

Black leopard sighting at Chislehurst

On Wednesday August 3rd 2011 at 5:00 am a black leopard was observed by a female witness at Chislehurst. The animal, described as "bigger than a dog and definitely feline" was disturbed when the witness opened her bedroom window. The cat ran off sown the garden. This cat's territory also takes in Orpington, Bromley, Sidcup, Dartford and Bexley where over the last few weeks there have been a string of reports.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Recent sheep kill and sightings

An undisclosed area in Kent is currently under investigation after several sightings of a black leopard which left a sheep kill. A female witness saw the large, black cat on 21st July as it crossed a village road and headed into a churchyard. Around the same time a sheep carcass was discovered by the woman as she walked her dog. The carcass had been found away from the flock, under the shelter of trees, and was completely stripped, only the skull and spine remained. The rib cage had been completely chewed, and there was no sign of the fore legs or shoulder blade. What was left of the spine harboured two puncture marks in the throat.

On 25th July a black leopard was witnessed at Minster, on the Isle of Sheppey, by a woman staying at a caravan park. This is also under investigation.



Thursday, 28 July 2011

Sheep kills, what to look for




Evidence for the existence of large, exotic cats in the wilds of the UK is, according to sceptics, absent. Strangely, several naturalists on website forums, and 'experts' in zoo parks, and within the agricultural community, clearly have not a clue as what to look for regarding such evidence. One website continues to mock sightings of 'big cats', stating quite categorically that there is no evidence, and yet on the same website there are prints and deer kills and in every case the possibility that a large cat is responsible has been dismissed. In the wild, foxes and deer to not attack deer with a throat bite and then strip them clean, foxes are a messy predator and do not chew through thick bone...neither the badger of the fox takes a kill high into a tree either. When tree bark is marked, it is easy to pinpoint which type of animal is responsible, but claw marks an inch apart, eight-feet up a tree cannot be made by any other animal except a large cat which has been sharpening its claws and leaving a scent. In the UK countryside sheep kills are frequent, despite 'experts' once again saying that there are no livestock kills. When a carcass is stripped by a cat there are tell tale signs even if the carcass has been left for a while. Puncture marks around the throat area, through bone, and ribs chewed down. Yet these are signs which people do not look for, especially if they do not believe that large cats roam the countryside. How many tell-tale signs are being ignored ?

When a fox tears at a sheep or deer, we must remember that the teeth and jaws are relatively small compared to a large cat, and certainly a lot weaker (a cat rasps the fleece from a sheep with an extremely rough tongue) and a fox will rip and tear, often leaving a mess of fur/fleece/feathers. When a large cat kills there are rarely signs of any struggle at the location. When a kill is made, a cat will often leave the head, and when scavengers step in and finish the rest off.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Cat prints in sand


Whilst a cat often retracts its claws, the following photographs, taken from an undisclosed location in rural Kent, show the claws not fully retracted.

Leopard cat in London!

On July 19th 2011 ITV's Wildlife Patrol investigated the report of a juvenile Amur leopard which had been found in a London back garden, echoing the 2001 capture of a lynx which had been tranquillised after roaming a garden in Cricklewood. For more information visit Beasts Of London

Monday, 25 July 2011

Two sightings on 22nd July 2011

Several 'big cat' sightings have been reported recently, two were from the same night. At 8:30 pm on 22nd July (Friday) 2011 a lady driving along the Bayham Road, between Bells Yew Green and Lamberhurst saw a large animal which came down the bank on the left-hand side and crossed into undergrowth. The animal, which measured approximately four-feet possibly a puma, was uniform in colour with a long tail. Three hours later a large, black cat was seen by a male witness in Bromley. At 11:30 pm the witness was alerted by a strange noise in his garden and shone his torch out of the window and picked up a large cat walking round the garden around 70-feet away. The cat was at least three-feet in length and it's eyes reflected orange. The witness was adamant it was not a fox or domestic cat as it was too high in the body.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Young black leopard seen near Blue Bell Hill

A female motorist has reported seeing a black leopard, the size of a small labrador dog, with a long, curving tail. The animal was seen at 8:40 am on the morning of Sunday 17th July 2011. The cat appeared at the side of a field close to the M20 motorway, within the vicinity of the Museum for Kent Life. The animal was heading towards some undergrowth on the left hand side as the witness drove towards Detling.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Coming Soon: MYSTERY ANIMALS OF...LONDON, the book!

For those of you who have followed sightings of strange animals throughout the south-east, especially at Beasts of London you'll be interested to know that as a follow up to the successful MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: KENT book, 2011 sees the release of MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES:LONDON. The book, weighing in at almost 400 pages, is a true menagerie of the damned, featuring chapters of 'big cat' sightings around the capital, historical accounts of animals escaping from menageries and zoo parks, strange creatures in the River Thames, folkloric monsters, insect swarms, alien species, unusual birds over the capital, and even vampires! As a teaser, here is a picture of the cover:

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Margate black leopard

"Hello


My husband saw one on the 17th June 2011. It was coming off the Northdown House Estate land in Cliftonville, Kent. It stopped when it saw the car and retreated back into the bushes.
Hope this is helpful."

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Hartley leopard

A chap called Steve emailed to report a black leopard at Hartley on Saturday 19th June 2011. At around 9:00 pm Steve was driving towards home when he saw a very large black cat with a lengthy tail walking up a hillside in an area of fields. Curious about the animal Steve reversed the car and watched the cat as it sat on the hill. Steve was extremely frustrated that he never had a camera with him and aimed to go back to the area with a zoologist friend.

The Hartley black leopard sighting is the twenty-fourth received in the nineteen days of June.

Friday, 17 June 2011

More sightings of black leopard across Kent

Several more black leopard sightings have been reported. On the night of Thursday 16th June 2011 a Rolvenden man claimed to have filmed a black leopard on his mobile phone. The following day, Friday 17th June, a couple driving towards Ashford, from the Hamstreet area, at 3:00 pm were shocked when a a four-foot long black cat sped across the road around fifty yards away. The male witness described the cat as being four-feet in length and having a long tail. The witness realised immediately that the animal was a black leopard as he'd seen one the previous year in the area of Susan's Hill.

Another report was received from Ulcombe of a black leopard seen by a female motorist and there have been several more Dover sightings.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Kent Messenger article on 'big cat' trigger camera photo

Over the last few months Kent Big Cat Research have been investigating reports of a large, black cat in the Ulcombe area of rural Maidstone. Eye witness Sharon Ramsden had caught a large cat on film after setting up a trigger camera in her back garden. Whilst most of the evidence for a large cat in the area remained inconclusive the photo (which isn't as clear in the newspaper report of 10th June 2011) shows a large, dark-coloured cat. The animal, if judging by the fence, is just over three-feet in length. The main issue with the photograph is that the animal appears to be sitting on its haunches but there is no ground or anything stable enough for it to be sitting on. Another theory is that the animal is stretching up the fence (the tulip fencing is three-feet in height) and peering towards an area where Sharon keeps a pet bird.

The animal in the photo, which is also distorted by shadow, could be a large feral cat, or according to one zoologist, a sub-adult black leopard.

Friday, 10 June 2011

From The Files: The London Lynx

Every time a report of a large, exotic cat appears on a website or in a newspaper the sceptics crawl out from under their stones and ask the same questions. Why aren't these animals captured ? Where are the dead bodies ? Why no clear photographs ? Sadly, even if a body, clear photo, or animal is presented, certain sceptics still will not believe. This isn't a true sceptical attitude, this is plain ignorance. In 2001 a lynx was caught in a back garden in Cricklewood, London. More of this case will be covered in my upcoming book MYSTERY ANIMALS OF THE BRITISH ISLES: LONDON. The story made the national newspapers after it was originally reported that a leopard was seen by a female witness. A call was made to the police who, aided by London Zoo, visited the area and were shocked to be confronted by a lynx. The animal was visibly shaken - it had suffered an injury to a rear leg. After a few hours chase the animal was tranquillised and sent off to London Zoo. Staff named the animal 'Lara'. It was eventually shipped on to a zoo in France.

No-one came forward to claim their lost lynx - it was extremely likely the animal had been kept illegally. It proved that a large cat could still be kept as an illegal pet and no-one knows for how long this animal had been on the loose, but it certainly proved that such animals can roam even the more built up areas of the country. At the time the sceptics went remarkably quiet, no surprise. In the past exotic cats have been found dead on roads or shot dead, and yet still sceptics argue they do not exist. Maybe they should question their own ignorance and blindness rather than the simple facts that exotic cats DO roam the UK.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ashford sightings continue...

The flurry of black leopard sightings from the Ashford area continues. On Sunday 5th June at 5:30 am, in the vicinity of Stubbs Cross, Ashford, a man walking his dog was shocked to see a large, black cat run across a field just thirty-feet ahead, briefly cast a glance at the witness, and then bound, in one leap, over a hedge and out of sight. The witness described the animal as having a long tail and was the size of a small Labrador.

Warehorne black leopard and Sussex lynx

After a recent flurry of reports from East Kent comes another report, this time of a black leopard seen in the Warehorne vicinity. Warehorne sits on the edge of Romney Marsh, where in the past large, exotic cats have been reported, as well as the vicinity of Orelstone Forest. On June 4th at 7:30 pm a woman walked into her back garden to quieten her four dogs which had been barking at something the the adjacent field. Thinking a fox was mooching around the area she was surprised to see a large cat - which she described as, the size of a German Shepherd dog, ran across the field. The sheep in the field were not agitated by the presence of the animal as it headed off toward the nearby wood. The previous day a woman walking her dogs a few miles away also observed an enormous black cat. During early June a lynx was observed in the Chichester area of West Sussex. The animal was described by a witness as being larger than a fox and covered in black spots.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Dover sighting involving six witnesses

"Just a quick one to report a sighting of what looked like a black leopard. It was on the 30th of May at about 6 in the morning up on top of the napoleonic fort set in the western heights above Dover.



There was a group of 6 of us and we all got a good look and quickly came to the conclusion that it was a very large black cat. About the size of a German Shepherd but with distinctly feline looking ears and face and stalked off like a cat with the shoulder blades going up and down like cats do whilst creeping along and an incredibly long tail.


It was a magnificent sight and there's wasn't a shadow of doubt what we all saw."
 
Interestingly, a few years back faeces were found in the area of Dover Castle and sent off for analysis. These come back as belonging to a leopard.

Monday, 6 June 2011

June starts with a bang...

Although the vegetation of the countryside grows more dense this time of year, it doesn't affect the abundance of sightings of large, exotic cats. In the last five days Kent Big Cat Research has received eight sightings from across Kent alone of what the press like to term 'big cats'. Three sightings have concerned melanistic leopards, two puma, and one lynx, stretching from Dover in East Kent, to the North Kent marshes. The most impressive has come from Sevenoaks where a deer was found half-eaten - the carcass bearing the marks of a cat kill, with puncture marks to the throat and the fur rasped, leaving a clean rib cage bereft of blood. A day after the carcass was found a puma was sighted by a farmer who was clearing rubbish on his land when he disturbed a large animal which he described as, "sitting on its haunches...it suddenly sprang into the undergrowth, darted back out then ran off along the tree-line." He described the animal as four-feet in length with a long, curving tail. The animal was tan-coloured.

Strangely, there are still people who believe that a multitude of different cats roam the UK. The 'white tiger' fiasco elsewhere in the country recently which involved the police who surely must have known that a white tiger wouldn't be on the loose in the UK. Many websites talk about bizarre species of animals from mutant cats, to prehistoric survivors, weird hybrids, but again, the inconsistency of such reports suggests those who see such animals or log such reports are not helping the situation. Whilst lions, tigers, clouded leopard, have escaped from zoo parks over the years they do not roam the UK. A lion is a social animal, and both the lion and tiger are extremely large cats who, in the wilds of the UK would be sighted far more often if they existed...which they do not. Reports of jaguar, and the golden cats, are also unfounded. Again, we must look at consistency with reports. Black leopard, puma, lynx and jungle cat, most certainly roam the south-east of England, and none of these are paranormal or prehistoric. Why create a mystery when there isn't one? If a witness sees an unusual looking animal, it can only be taken with a pinch of salt until reports persist, and as in the case of so many lion, lioness, tiger, etc, reports, they do not persist. Not all witnesses understand what they are seeing, and this is natural, not everyone knows about certain species, not everyone has the greatest eye sight, but the reason reports of exotic cats in the UK aren't taken seriously, is simply down to the fact that too many strange reports are taken seriously! There are those who claim to have had hundreds of sightings of these shy, elusive animals, and there are those who believe there are hundreds of differing species of felidae in the wilds. For every good photo there's a dozen bad ones, and even when the evidence is very good, there's always a sceptical viewpoint. This, of course, is the way of the world, and the 'white tiger' fiasco, just like the toy leopard story a few years back from Wales, is proof that even if clear footage or sufficient evidence (hair samples, sheep kills, faeces, a body - and yes, bodies have been found of exotic cats), it will never be good enough proof, especially in the eyes of those who are so sceptical that they cannot see in front of their nose. And there is also the fact that some researchers would rather not have this 'mystery' solved, otherwise they'd have to find something else to do in between episodes of 'The X-Factor' and 'Eastenders'.

From The Files: The Cooling Photo

Strangely, this photo has appeared on various websites and yet clearly the website owners have no idea as to its origins. The photo was taken in 1998 by Harry Matthews who submitted it to Meridian News, and the photo eventually appeared on the front page of the Kent Today. Due to lack of knowledge the newspaper asked if the creature was the so-called 'beast of Blue Bell Hill', even though a) the animal was sighted on the other side of the river, b) the Blue Bell Hill animal is a black leopard, and the animal in the photo clearly isn't.

Mr Matthews, when interviewed on Meridian News did not state the animal was a 'big cat', but claimed he'd seen a similar one on the internet which he believed was an Italian wildcat. Immediately, the press had a field day but little did they realise how severely the image was distorted by undergrowth. Whilst the photo clearly shows a felid, the seemingly muscular shoulders are in fact undergrowth from the marsh behind it. A second photo also emerged showing the cat running away, and some believe the animal is simply a breed of domestic cat, whilst others claim the animal is a Jungle Cat/domestic hybrid. Whatever the cat is, it is not a black leopard, puma, etc, but it does remain an impressive photograph. Cooling Marshes would provide perfect cover and prey for an animal such as a Jungle Cat, or any cat which feed on rodents, small birds etc.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Another Kingsnorth sighting...

On 28th May, a day before the couple had seen a large black cat near Cheeseman's Wood, Kingsnorth, an eight-year old boy observed a large cat stalking a domestic cat in a built up area in Kingsnorth. The animal, which was sitting in long grass, measured approximately a metre in height when sitting on its haunches and had yellow eyes.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Fresh Ashford and Maidstone sightings

On 29th May 2011 at 9:30 pm in the vicinity of Kingsnorth/Mersham, a couple were walking their puppy when in the distance they observed a large black animal they at first took to be a dog. Waiting for the owner to appear the witnesses were then extremely surprised at the speed which the animal used to ran across the field. The animal, which was clearly a large, black cat, then turned towards them and the couple, in alarm, picked their dog up and hurried home.

On 30th May at 10:30 am a Bearsted man was working in his back garden when he saw a big, black cat with a shiny coat and extremely long tail sauntering through the undergrowth. The animal appeared to be in no particular hurry and disappeared into undergrowth behind the shed of the witness. At Ditton a man found that four of his chickens had been completely eaten by a predator which killed unlike any animal he knew of. Only a few feathers remained of the carcasses. This echoed a similar report mentioned briefly in The Sun newspaper of Saturday 28th May in which it was stated that ten geese had been killed at a pond in Aylesford. Aylesford is just a few miles from Ditton.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Sussex black leopard

"We live on the banks of the Cuckmere river just next to Alfriston, a few miles from Polegate, and as I drove across a bridge over the Cuckmere just near our house earlier this year, coming towards me on the road and caught in the headlights was what looked like a very large black cat – to me it looked elegant, sleek and somewhat puma like. I slowed down as I neared it, and it snuck under a railing and went into the undergrowth by the river. Of course I guess it could have been a black dog, such as a black Labrador, as it was about the same size as a lab, but it certainly looked much more cat like than that. I remember its eyes in the headlights being very reflective, and I think they reflected green, though its a while ago now and I cant be sure that I've remembered that correctly – but we have two dogs, and I remember thinking that the eyes didn’t look anything like our dogs eyes when reflected in lights.






We have about twelve acres of fields or thereabouts, with some six hundred years of river frontage, the frontage being all very overgrown as it is not grazed or cut at all and therefore providing good undisturbed cover for animals... hence the probable mink and stoats that I’ve seen, and the otter that someone fishing on our river bank early one morning believes that they saw. Whether a big cat passes by from time to time, who knows, but it could be possible, and there are some signs of a large predator of some sort having been here on more than one occasion. The nearest sheep to us are probably a mile or so away – but on a couple of occasions we have had what I think were large chunks of sheep vertebra (18in to two feet sections) and a sheep’s pelvis left in the field, so whatever brought them there must have carried them quite some distance. No doubt it could have been a fox, as there are vast numbers of fox and rabbits in the area, but whatever it was would have to have been quite sizeable to have carried such a large chunk of sheep, and somehow to me it just didn’t feel like the sort of thing a fox would have done, especially with so many rabbits in the area!"

Latest reports - Maidstone-related:

The Sun newspaper ran a strange and very brief snippet on Saturday 27th May concerning ten geese that were alleged to have been killed in the Aylesford area, a few miles from Blue Bell Hill. The newspaper stated that 'two escaped panthers' were being suspected. This strange, and vague story is now being investigated, as it appears unlikely that ten geese would be attacked by a large cat in one night, a predatory cat will usually stalk prey, and animals such as geese would be killed with a throat bite and then often removed from the area to be eaten elsewhere. A large cat - puma or leopard - would not ransack a flock and leave a gory mess but often take one or two and leave very little trace, and how the newspaper, or its source came up with the details of two escaped panthers is beyond us. No-one in the area owns leopards so it seems more likely that dogs were to blame until we can verify anything from the kills.

A Lenham farmer has been in touch to say that he has lost an alarming number of ducks etc, over the course of several months. These disappearances have coincided with a sighting of a puma. Also in Maidstone, a clear photo has emerged of a puma stalking through long grass. The photo is one of the clearest photo's of a large cat in the UK and hopefully it will be published as soon as we have clearance from the witness who took the photo.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

From the files: Goose carcass at Aylesford

This goose carcass was found at Aylesford. A dog-walker observed a large, black cat, bigger than his own Labrador dog, stalking geese. Upon returning to the spot the witnes found the eaten remain of the goose. Only the wings remained. The rest of the carcass has been licked clean.

Possible Dymchurch sighting

'This is probably nothing, but my 13 yr. old son saw a large dark coloured animal at the end of our garden at dusk the night before last (15th May2011) . He said that it was about waist height ( he is 5' 10") our Jack Russell started barking & running up the garden, & the creature ran off.

I asked him what the tail was like , but he did not see the tail, it was around 8.30 in the evening, & beginning to get dark. It may have been a fox, although, it would have had to be a very large one!

It may be coincidence, but to my knowledge, at least two small dogs have gone missing in the vicinity recently, & on the school run this morning I saw a lady putting up a notice on a post about 1.5 miles from here, & having seen your website, confirming the sighting of a large black cat in the area. I am probably putting 2 + 2 together & coming up with 5, but I am now a bit concerned, & will not allow my dog out at night unaccompanied!'

Monday, 16 May 2011

Recent May sightings

'Sunday 15th May 2011 - "myself and my wife have just returned from a walk in chalk woods which is part of joydens wood in bexley. we saw a what looked like a jet black alsation or ladorador about 10yrds in front of us in undergrowth. we were on a windy path, i called back my dog and expected to continue on the path and come across a fellow walker with said dog. but nothing , in our conversationg my wife said it could have been a cat and on reflection there was no noise and dissapeared just like that."

There has also been a sighting of a lynx in the area of the Rochester Maidstone Road, crossing from heavily wooded area in vicinity of airport.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Spate of mystery fox killings

Recently there has been a mysterious spate of fox killings within a few miles of one another. In each case the unfortunate victim has been bitten in the throat and blood drained from the victim. Another fox was found with a throat wound and also its hind quarters eaten - this is an ongoing investigation at the moment. The area in question has also produced several sightings recently of a black leopard. More photo's to follow.

Hartley Bottom sighting

"My friends and I were driving through Hartley Bottom last night (12th May 2011) at about



11.15 when we saw about 30 yards or so in front of us a fox go across the


road followed by a black creature and then another fox. I was driving and


didn't say anything, a couple of minutes later one of my friends asked if I


thought that was a panther crossing the road. We then realised that we had


all seen the same thing and decided we felt it was too big to be a domestic


cat.





It was probably the size of a labrador dog but had a feline sleek shape and
 the movement was quite different to the fox it was more of a glide.

 What was strange was that it appeared to be quite close to the foxes. Have


you ever heard of this before?"

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Tunbridge Wells sighting

"This evening (11th May 2011) whilst driving through Tunbridge Wells in Kent I saw what I can only describe as a very large black, almost panther looking animal. It ran like a cat across somebodies front lawn. It quite startled me, and I am 100% positive it was not a large fox. It was pure black and had a very long, thin tail. Can you tell me if there have ever been sightings in this area before? Many thanks"

There have been many sightings around Tunbridge Wells over the last few decades. More recently a puma was sighted, and the reports investigated, in the vicinity of Knights Park.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Recent sightings

There have been recent sightings of a black leopard on the Romney Marsh and two miles inward from Herne Bay. The latter sighting took place Sunday 24th April at 12:30 pm. There have been five sightings of a large, black cat on the marshes at Romney.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Black leopard sighted at Challock, Ashford

Thursday 21st April 2011
Challock, near Ashford.
Male cyclist travelling towards Gold Hill, Challock. Large, black cat, size of a labrador crossed road slowly twenty-feet ahead.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Black leopard sighted at Sheppey

In the past there has been a lot of scepticism regarding the possibility that a black leopard inhabits the Isle of Sheppey. In 2002 it was claimed by a local builder that a large black cat had been shot by a farmer. This has never been proven. Even so, over the last decade there have been a number of sightings which usually come in clusters around the island. Some people may be seeing a large feral cat but others are certainly seeing a cat larger than any feral. A few days ago a black leopard, measuring four-feet in length, was seen on the island by a group of witnesses. The sighting took place in broad daylight as the animal sat in undergrowth stalking rabbits. Although the island is relatively small there is enough marsh and undergrowth to hide a very elusive cat. The big question is, how did it get there ?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Black leopard sighting.

Several sightings have been received during early April, not all will be published here, but here is the latest.

'Hi Neil ..Today (6th April 2011) 1pm in very good light a large black cat (approx 3ft head to rear ) ran across the road in front of us as we drove between Ulcombe and Grafty Green in Eastwood Road; it was close enough for us to be ABSOLUTELY sure of its size.....and the fact it could NOT have been a domestic cat....Kind Regards John '

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Black leopard sighting at Brockley...

'I live in Brockley in SE4, London. Our garden backs onto undergrowth and the train line South East.

On Thursday night (24th March) my partner noticed a large black shape at the end of our garden making a strange growl as my domestic cat Peach was freaking out looking at it from the window. He went outside only for the creature to have gone rather quickly.

I returned home later on and opened the back door to the garden (It was the first nice evening we'd had) and I obviously startled the creature again and it ran away, clearing three or so garden fences in a matter of seconds. Very heavy footed, claws audible and the strength of the thing evident. We startle foxes and other cats all the time and none of them moved in the way this one did. It was remarkably quick and powerful.'

Recent Gravesend sighting.

'My name is Gill and I live in Gravesend. On Saturday the 26th March at 22.45 I was at the shops in Winfell way Riverview Park and I saw a large black animal walking very close to the wall going around to the back of the shops. I was with my granddaughter and I told her to get her camera ready on her phone I then drove slowly around the back of the shops the only thing we then saw was a small fox running towards my car.The animal I saw was not a fox It had a really long curved tail and stood about 2ft high and very slender in build and walked very slowly.'

Monday, 21 March 2011

More late March sightings...

In the last week there have been reports of a black leopard at Cuxton (observed by two witnesses from bedroom window as it slinked across a field in broad daylight), Ulcombe (large, black cat seen running through a neighbours garden - third sighting in the week) and Marden.

Black leopard sighting at Ashford

WITNESS REPORT: 'Thought I should email you to let you know that on Saturday 19th March at 18:45, I was driving through Brissenden Green, Bethersden heading towards the A28. At this time, I had a large black panther style cat, with a long tail, run across the road, very fast, in front of my car. It actually brought me to a standstill, I think more through sheer amazement at what I had just witnessed! I have heard that a similar cat has been spotted before in the Bethersden/Woodchurch area, so thought that my sighting may be of interest to your big cat research.



I'm so pleased that I have finally seen one for myself!'

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Black leopard seen in broad daylight near Gravesend

A female witness named Michelle was shaken by a strange encounter with a large, black cat which she observed at 4:25 pm in the Sole Street area, a few miles from Gravesend, on Saturday March 12th 2011. The animal crossed the road casually, from left to right, around forty-feet away and slinked down towards woods at Meaopham. The animal had an extremely long tail and was the size of a large dog with a smallish head.

Massive paw-prints found in Tunbridge Wells

Paw-prints, stretching for several hundred yards were found in woodland at Penshurst at Tunbridge Wells in March 2011. Deer kills have been reported in the area. Photo courtesy of a Mr Alan Threllfall.

'Beast' of Brighton, or the 'Portslade panther'!?

At 11:00 am on Saturday 5th March 2011 a female witness named Sally observed a black leopard stalking sheep as she was travelling on the A27, at Portslade.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Was a black leopard hit by a car ?

Sceptics always ask as to why there appears to be a lack of 'big cat' bodies found on roads. This can be answered by the fact that of a night, on unlit back roads, vehicle activity is scarce, but on occasion strange incidents are reported. A female motorist from Boughton Monchelsea reported that a large, black animal had been hit by a vehicle in front of her one night. Both motorists stopped but could find no trace of the animal which must have scurried off into the woods. The police were told of the incident and the officer replied, "It was probably the local beast", and laughed! A few years ago an animal resembling a serval was killed on roads near Canterbury, and also a lynx was run over in Dover.

Daylight leopard sighting at Hollingbourne

A landscape gardener and his wife reported a close encounter in the grounds of a large property at Hollingbourne, Maidstone. The male witness was alterted to the sound of scurrying rabbits and called his wife over expecting to see a fox rushing through scrubland. The couple were stunned to see, just thirty yards away, a very large, jet-black cat. The male witness reported, "It was a big fella', about five foot long from nose to tip of tail and it just sauntered by in the undergrowth. My wife went off to get the camera from her coat but it was gone by the time she came back."

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sevenoaks and Bickley sightings

After a few days of a number of sightings, the most impressive came from Bickley (male witness heard on several occasions a piercing scream and his mother observed a puma in the garden) and Sevenoaks from which the following report was submitted:

'I thought I would like to let you know I saw a big black cat in my garden at about 7am yesterday Tuesday March 1st 2011. I live in Morleys Road, Sevenoaks Weald, Kent. As I left the house to go to work the cat was standing beside our pond watching a duck which flew off as I opened the door. It was about 20 yards from me. It walked slowly away and jumped onto a low brick wall, As I walked round to take a photograph it jumped back down. As I walked back to get a better look it jumped back over the wall and walked off fairly slowly through the undergrowth up the slope behind. I took 2 photos with my mobile phone but unfortunately they are poor quality and the perspective doesn't do justice to it's size. It was definitely larger than a domestic cat-perhaps twice as long and twice as tall- and made me gasp with surprise when I opened the door and saw it. I have had 2 or 3 other sightings of similar animals in the garden over the last 10 years. I hope this is of interest to you.'

Monday, 21 February 2011

Another Gravesend 'big cat' sighting ?

From female witness: 'On Saturday 12th Feb. 8 of us were in Mill wood. We had walked from Cobham, past the Mausoleum, and stopped on the ridge to look across in the direction of Upper Bush. We could see across the valley. In a field, high up on the other side of the valley. We could see, what looked like a large black animal moving across the field. It was alone and moving slowly. We all stared at it, trying to make out what it was. It was low to the ground and seemed to move smoothly. We were trying to work out it's size. It disappeared into the woods. Shortly after, a person came out of the woods, lower down the hillside with 2 dogs. We could then tell that the animal was about the size of a big cat: the length of an horizontal person. We could hardly see the dogs, they were much smaller than the animal we saw.'

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Leopard seen at Gravesend again.

14th February 2011 - 1:00pm approx
Marshes at Chalk, Gravesend.
Female witness tending to horses noticed how her animals were staring across the marsh towards a dyke. Witness observed a large black cat, the size of a large dog, slinking across the marsh.

puma seen at New Romney

Friday 11th February 2011 - midnight
St Martin's Road, New Romney

A large cat, fawn in colour was observed by an elderly lady from her bedroom window. The cat crossed the road 25 feet away, sniffed at the tyre of a car and headed off towards fields. The same witness, nine months previous, had seen possibly the same cat.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Black leopard seen at Gravesend and also south London

On 9th February a black leopard was spotted in broad daylight in the Gravesend area. Investigations are currently being carried out. A black leopard has also been seen twice in the Anerley area of south London. A 10-year old girl first saw the animal near her home at 7:25 one morning, and then again a week or so later at 6:30 pm in a nearby car park.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Black leopard seen at Sissinghurst

On 6th February 2011, a Mr Hamilton and his girlfriend were travelling from Sissinghurst towards Goudhurst on the A262 - a mile out of Sissinghurst, when a large black cat ran from left to right across the road, 10-15 metres ahead. The animal slinked into woodland. A black leopard has also been seen on several occasions at Lydd, on the marsh at Romney. The witness, a female, saw a similar animal 15 years previous.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The 'beast' of Blue Bell Hill seen several times!

It's always corny when local 'big cat' sightings are giving such outrageous headlines and legendary names. The so-called 'beast' of Blue Bell Hill has never been tied to the village, and combs a territory stretching far into Maidstone, also towards Sittingbourne, and the outskirts of the Medway Towns. Over the Christmas period and colder months of 2011 the animal - a black leopard - has been observed on several occasions around Wigmore and Gillingham. Some may scoff at such reports near a busy town, but many fail to remember that Gillingham harbours a lot of woodland, particularly towards Bredhurst and Hartlip, and also a large nature reserve on the Lower Rainham Road which is flanked by marshes. Recently a fox was found eaten in the lower Gillingham area in the vicinity of a farm where a male witness, on two occasions, has seen a large, dark-coloured cat. A smaller black leopard was also seen recently in Wigmore by a couple who were awoken at 3:11 am by their security light which overlooks the back garden. There was no sign out the back of what triggered the light but when the male witness noticed the front security light come on he rushed to the window and was shocked to see a very large, black cat in the road. When the witness opened the window the cat faced him and moved into a crouching position which unnerved the witness even though he was some forty-feet away and safe upstairs. The animal then ran off down a neighbouring driveway.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Black leopard seen near Ruckinge

Ruckinge sits on the fringe of Romney Marsh. At midnight on Monday 24th January 2011 a couple watched from their bedroom window (at a distance of fifteen-feet), a large, black cat, measuring over three-feet in length, which slinked from their drive. The couple had seen a black leopard previously, in 2005 at Kingsnorth, in Ashford. This sighting came after the bizarre statement from the Daily Star of the same month that there were "thirteen black leopards on Romney Marsh", according to wildlife expert Dave Riches.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Big cat seen at Darenth

It's always nice when people who are a bit sceptical towards 'big cat' sightings, actually see one. This email came from a chap named Ray:
'The week before Christmas (2010) I was in Darenth Valley Hospital, and the day that I was being discharged I was waiting in a small area near some windows and I looked out and I am estimating about 100 yds away I saw a black cat walk along side of a fence and disappeared through a gate. I have always been sceptical of so called big cats but have always tried to have an open mind about anything really, anyway I am certain that this cat was not a pet type cat I reckon it was about 3 to 4 foot long , very long tail thick fur right to the end, no way was it an ordinary cat, kept thinking if only had camera but no time to take photo anyway, a couple of nurses I was told had seen it climbing a tree.


I heard you on BBC Kent today and found your web site and thought I would let you know, on the day I saw it everything was covered in snow so the cat showed up well, and it was about 1 pm'

Bizarre 'big cat' story of the month

Every now and then a completely ridiculous story makes the local, and sometimes national newspapers, concerning 'big cat' sightings. The latest, pertaining to Kent, comes from the Daily Star newspaper of Saturday January 15th 2011, under the headline, 'Panther alert at A-plant'. Now, as we all know, newspapers aren't exactly the most knowledgeable sources when it comes to facts, but the following story simply makes a complete mockery of the so-called 'big cat' mystery.

The report read: 'Up to 13 black panthers are living near a UK nuclear power station. The big cats are blamed for a spate of attacks on sheep on Romney Marsh near the Dungeness atomic planet.'

The first sentence alone is enough to send serious researchers cringing back to their homes, but it gets worse, the Daily Star adds, 'Wildlife expert Dave Riches has seen panthers on the Kent marsh several times and believes there are up to 13. Farmers have found dead sheep up trees where panthers eat, Dave added: "There are big claw marks on the trees."

There are so many things wrong with this report, but I guess we could expect such inaccuracy and drama from a tabloid, but for any researcher, serious, or otherwise to state, or even be included in a statement which claims there are "13 panthers" on Romney Marsh, needs their head examined. Many people state that Romney Marsh is a vast area - in Kent it may be considered so, but it's not the wilds of Africa. Whilst there have, in the past, been sightings of black leopard, puma and lynx around the area, there are NOT "13" 'panthers' inhabiting it. A large cat such as a black leopard (or what newspapers are keen to call 'panthers') has a vast territory, an animal, mainly hunting at night could comb an area of some fifty to one-hundred square miles. When a solitary male and female meet they can produce up to four cubs. However, there is NO evidence whatsoever to suggest that "13" leopards are roaming an area which simply could NOT harbour them. The marsh is very open, at times desolate, !13" black leopards would stick out like a sore thumb and certainly be a danger to the public and sheep would be killed at an alarming, and not an infrequent rate. A leopard does not have a fixed den but will roam an area searching for food. The marsh provides ample enough food for one or two of these animals. If a female produces cubs they will stay with the mother for around eighteen-months and then make their own way in life in their own territory. Surrounding areas such as Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Deal, could also provide enough habitat and prey, but again, for a small pocket of animals, and not "13" 'panthers.

It's no wonder there is scepticism towards the existence of such animals when silly headlines and statements constantly filter through to the press. Usually we are used to the 'beast of...' type tags, but for a wildlife 'expert' to claim there are "13" panthers roaming one specific area of Kent is beyond the realms of madness. It's more than likely the area may become besieged with hunters, and once again the study of such animals is made a mockery of.