Wednesday 30 July 2014

A rather close encounter...

Although an older sighting this has just been received in reference to the post 'An older Maidstone sighting':

"I too had a similar experience in 2009, and emphatically agree with your sentiments. I certainly would not fancy having one in such close proximity again.

I am taking it as you are a female. You were very lucky!

My encounter with a Black Leopard occurred in a field at 01:30am, and was as incredible as it was terrifying. I had ventured with my two dog's along one side of the field which was completely overgrown, when I was confronted with two options, either turn and go back, or go through the field to my right. I decided on option 2, as the field had Pheasants in, and my dogs love chasing them. Please don't be alarmed, my dog's have never caught one of these birds, they're just not quick enough, but they enjoy doing it and it's very good exercise for all of us. On reaching the other side of the field, I turned right and made my way ahead between the four and a half feet tall grass along a rabbit run, when the two dogs shot past me and disappeared off in front of me. I glanced at the long grass either side of me and decided to check behind me, as I had reason to believe that a large cat may be visiting the location where I walk the dogs. I grabbed my small LED Torch and shone it along the rabbit run behind me. Approximately 20ft away, there was a pair of amber coloured eyes hugging the ground which then started to slowly move toward me covering a distance of about 4ft. As a realisation of which type of creature was facing me set in, a large cat, and it was stalking me, a wave of fear swept through me. I knew immediately not to turn and run and believed the only option was to stand my ground and try to back it off. I was carrying part of a tree branch to help negotiate muddy inclines and I raised both arms into the air whilst holding the stick, to make myself look as big and intimidating as possible. I then began shouting whilst making aggressive motions with the stick, but this was to no effect and the cat stealthily moved toward me another two times to within a distance of around 9ft. Panic gripped me for a few seconds as I realised my tactics weren't working. I stared down the beam of the torch into the cats eye's and just knew it was about to pounce. I very much doubt it was about to edge toward me another 4ft so I could stroke it. Out of desperation I kind of hissed at it as loud as I possibly could, and to my utter relief the eyes disappeared into the long grass to my left. I just stood there for 6 seconds or so, worrying that it may be trying to get behind me again, when it suddenly appeared around 40ft away in the direction from whence it had came. There was a bright full moon in a clear night sky and the sight of this animal raised in the air on its back leg's with the front ones pulled in to its body was magnificent! This was a big Leopard. It's said that a large male can grow to 6ft in length from the tip of its nose to the start of the tail, and when raised up on its back legs in a 2 o'clock position you can add the length of the back legs to get an idea of how large this animal appeared. The developed muscle I could see, a testament to its power and a vision that will always stay with me, as will the memory of the fear this creature instilled in me on a night in May in 2009."

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