Tuesday 5 February 2013

Was there a leopard in the tree?

This report comes from 2nd February 2013 by an Ashford lady: "I was out walking my 3 dogs with my 16 year old son at 6pm this evening. We were walking on a footpath alongside the river Stour, between Ashford rugby club and the M20. There were mature trees to our left, between us and the river. We heard movement in the trees accompanied by loud cracking and breaking of branches. I was convinced that there was someone in the trees. because of the loud noises. The noises could not have been made by a fox or rabbit. My son then froze on the spot and then told me to start running. When we stopped he inquired if I had seen the eyes. I hadn't. He described them as big and yellow and a good height off the ground. My son's impression was that he thought he had seen a very large black cat. I immediately dismissed i,t as I felt that if it had been such a creature, that it would have attacked the dogs. My son was completely convinced and very frightened by the whole incident. We feel we should report what my son saw and I certainly have no explanations for the sounds that we heard." There has also been a report of a smaller cat, with a banded tail, from the Bethersden area of Ashford. A Mr Smith emailed to say: "I have just stumbled upon your website having had a strange encounter a couple of weeks ago that has intrigued me. I was driving down Pluckley Road in Bethersden and had just turned left out of Mill Lane at about 8pm when about 40' in front of me, crossing the road from left to right was what I first assumed to be a large dog fox. I almost instantly changed my mind as the animal was very obviously a large cat with a banded tail? It was night time plus the whole encounter lasted a mater of seconds so I couldn't describe colouring with any certainty other than it appeared to be similar to a domestic tabby cat. I know most people would say that it was probably a trick of light and that I mis-judged the cats size, but I am a land Surveyour by trade and are used to gauging sizes and distances on a daily basis. Also by the time the animal reached the other side of the road and disappeared into the hedgerow I was very close. Could you let me know if there have been any similar sightings locally? I know that several people in the area have witnessed large cats before, but I think these have been described as black? Also, do you have any ideas as to what type of cat I could have witnessed?"

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