Monday 30 June 2014

Sussex sighting:

Recent Sussex sighting from the Argus 24/6/2014:
"A DOG walker dialled 999 to report seeing a leopard at a beauty spot.
Dianne Lonnon was walking her terrier-collie cross called James in Cantercrow Hill, Denton, near Newhaven, when they came across the “spotty brown coloured big cat” just in front of her.
Mrs Lonnon, 66, said: “I was just yards away.
“It was in front of us and looking away so I don’t think it saw us and I was just praying it didn’t turn round. I was just hoping the dog didn’t bark. “It was walking in front of us and just walked away. We were heading towards it so I turned around and hoped it didn’t smell my fear. “I didn’t even look behind me I was so scared.
“Then I ran home with the dog and phoned 999. They told me I had to call the non-emergency number and were asking me lots of questions like what shape its ears were and whether it was bigger than a Labrador.
“Its tail was right up and I can’t remember what its ears looked like because I was so scared and keen to get out of there.
“I’ve been on safari twice and it looked just like a leopard.
“I saw it long enough to know it was definitely a cat.
“It was right in Denton village. I have seen lots of people riding bikes and up there with kids and I’m terrified. I just wanted to tell everyone it could be out there.”
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police: “A sighting of a large brown wild cat with lines on its tail was reported to police on Sunday at 9.44am by a dog walker who had spotted it in a field north of St Leonards Road, Newhaven.
“The sighting has been noted by the wildlife officer for the area.”
She added that if anyone spots a suspected leopard or other big cat they should call the 101 police non-emergency number. But if you are being attacked or in fear of attack call 999."

Thursday 26 June 2014

Barming sighting:

24th June 2014, approximately 6:45pm: "
Out walking the dog this evening in a field on the Barming to 'North Pole' pub road, we had a sighting.My Dog (a Jack Russell) was stalking rabbits on the edges of the long grass when he stopped dead. My wife and I looked ahead about 50 yards and saw an animal exiting the field.We did not see its head but only the last 75% of its body and long black tail (tail length 2ft 6" or more).We both looked at each other aghast, because we both knew what we'd just seen. Trust me, we are absolutely certain what we saw. We called the dog back and gave the animal a wide berth."


Tuesday 10 June 2014

Older Sheppey sighting...

"Hi a few years back i was visiting a friend in Warden Bay on the Isle of Sheppey Kent. I left his house around 3am Monday morning, i got to Bay View which is on the Leysdown Road when a Cat of some size which i could see over the bonnet of car ran out in front of me from the fields on the left of me, i had to brake quite hard so i didn't hit it, i carried on about hundred yards before being able to turn around, realising what i had just seen so i went into bay view housing estate which has only got about 150 homes situated opposite fields, had a look around for about 10 minutes but never saw it again. Even after that night travelling along the same road at the same time i have not seen it since."

That 'photo' debate continues...

I'd like to thank a chap called Trevor for this recent email regarding the alleged 'swimming cat' image:
"I would just like to say that; David who took the photograph is a very honest person and he would not lie or try to manipulate any of his pictures he takes, David worked for us over a number of years and you couldn't ask for a more honest professional person, he called around to our workshop yesterday and showed us the picture to which I/we think is an incredible shot, this picture is of a feline species and as the picture was taken at some distance the animal is of reasonable size, Dave estimates it could be 4ft long, the water in that area is fairly shallow, Dave is more of an old school photographer and does not use fancy computer software, so in my/our opinion and knowing Dave personally this is a great picture, and I wish that some of these skeptics out there would perhaps except the image, and give Dave some positive response and accept that this is a great picture and get out there and try and capture some images or prove its not.

Many thanks for this Trevor. No-one is doubting David, and I enjoyed chatting to him on the phone. As with any photograph of this ilk it's only natural that people will try to prove or disprove its authenticity which is fair enough. There is no information as yet to determine just how deep/shallow that section of water is but for those who believe the 'object' is a great crested grebe need to only look at these images to see that it isn't.  Even as a grebe turns to the side, the 'tufts' are extremely close together and the body of the grebe would certainly be smaller than the ducks as it's some fifty yards or so behind. Deer, otter, mink, seal, dog, domestic cat, fish, birds have been ruled out by many but whilst some believe the image shows a cat we just cannot be 100% sure. It's just a shame there were not more photographs or even better if this had been film footage, but as it is it remains another inconclusive photograph. If this was a puma swimming in deep water then it would be more submerged, so until we can find out depth of water it remains a mystery. Many thanks.

Monday 9 June 2014

That 'swimming' puma photo and theories...

'Cat' photograph copyright David Burr. Bewl Water photograph James Mitson.
This is the photograph a number of people have been raging, arguing and fussing over - taken by David Burr at Bewl Reservoir in Sussex on 7th June 2014 at 9pm. Davis did not see this 'object' until he returned home to his PC and downloaded the images as at the time he was looking through his viewfinder at the sunset. Many people have argued that the 'cat' - if it is a cat, is too high out of the water but we do not know the actual depth of this area, but there are certainly very shallow areas of Bewl Reservoir - see image provided by James Mitson. Some have argued that David was the victim of a hoax and that it's a cuddly toy, but the wake suggests a moving object - there were no boats to be seen dragging the object and it is too balanced to be merely a toy 'panther' which do not resemble this image anyway.

Others have suggested a grebe with its head turned away from the camera, but the grebe has a smaller body and a more slender neck. Seals and otters do not have ears like this, and deer and dogs have a muzzle whilst a domestic cat would be much smaller as this 'cat' is some fifty yards or so away. It could be a small puma that is swimming across the lake - cougars are known to swim with ease and at pace, or if this is shallower water it may simply be hunting fish although maybe we would expect more of a commotion in the water. As with many so called 'big cat' photographs they are open to debate and either way, whether 'big cat' or not they should be looked at with an open mind rather than dismissed out of hand or believed in to the point of thinking it is 100 a cat, but even so, the object resembles a cat especially in the head. Others have stated that maybe the cat was hunting ducks which were dotted around the lake which could of course explain the dark patch near the front of the object. 'Big cat' evidence in the shape of photographs will never please sceptics and this is understandable as they are rarely convincing. It's a shame that this was not a piece of film footage, but not everyone who carries a camera is fortunate enough to film a 'big cat' so clearly. This object was the last thing David expected to see whilst filming the beautiful sunset. To join in the debate join the BIG CATS IN KENT page on Facebook.

'Swimming cougar' debate continues

Now that the photograph showing an alleged 'large cat' has featured online and in a couple of newspapers, we've been inundated with several theories regarding what the image shows. Some people are of the opinion that the photograph shows a large cat but that maybe the photograph was taken in another part of the world and not in Sussex. Others seem rather dubious to the height of the animal out of the water but what has not been confirmed is the actual depth at the specific point where the object has been film.

I do believe the photograph in question shows a cat, and I do not think it's a hoax in the sense of it being a cuddly toy. I've just received these comments:

"Hello Neil,

Always difficult to be 1000% sure, but there are several points which do go strongly against it being a large cat swimming.

• Unless the water is shallow enough for the animal to walk, it seems the animal is sitting too high in the water to be a mammal, let alone a cat swimming.

• Also the ‘ears’ appear to be too close together and on the top of the head and not the sides.

• If this was supposedly a large cat why are there not multiple images of such a striking encounter?

• I would say this is almost certainly a great crested grebe, which appears to be further away than it actually is."

In answer to these questions, and thank you for them, the animal in the photograph is too big to be a grebe. The witness in question was taking different snaps of the sunset and only noticed this 'object' afterwards. The ears resemble a puma, and there is a possibility that the reason it is higher out of the water is because it's in a shallow area.

Sunday 8 June 2014

'Big cat' seen swimming across Kent lake.

On 7th June 2014 at 9pm a professional photographer snapped a large, cat-like swimming across a Kent lake. At the time the witness was photographing the beautiful sunset and the ducks floating on the surface of the lake. After taking hundreds of snaps he then noticed in them an animal swimming in the distance behind the ducks. I was contacted by the agency, and then the photographer regarding the images and believe the image in question shows a large cat - possibly a puma, swimming across the lake. Although the lake at its deepest is around 90ft and several hundred metres wide, puma are known to swim - at pace - in such bodies of water, especially as it takes less time than walking around it.

Many so-called 'big cat' images have been passed around and dismissed but the photographs I've seen DO NOT show an otter, dog, domestic cat, deer or fish, but instead a large cat - its head and arch of back - silhouetted against the orange glow of the water as the sunset is reflected on the lake.

I've never been of the opinion that any 'big cat' evidence is good enough for the sceptics and detractors, but the photographs - in the possession of the agency - are VERY interesting indeed. Over the years the lake in question has featured in several 'big cat' encounters with joggers, walkers and fishermen reporting sightings both puma and black leopard. Many thanks to the photographer and agency for showing me the images.

Monday 2 June 2014

Hever castle puma?

31st May 2014: "Today my family and I were waking our dogs in the grassed car park area of Hever Castle when my lurcher chased out a large, brown/orange animal from the long grass and into the forest. It was stocky, the same colour all over and had a large head proportional to a leopard. Certainly not a fox!! That's all I can tell you really. I think it's resting in the circular patch of long grass at the far end of the car park."