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 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'.

1 comment:

Web Owner said...

I for one Neil would like to prove it. I don't for one moment think that lions or tigers inhabit the UK their roar would be heard 5 miles away and easily caught if they escaped from a zoo. A jaguar would possibly have it's prey up a tree but may not if their is not another predator about to steal the food it would be a waste of their energy, so they are doubtful. but a melanistic leopard,puma or lynx a distinct possibility.