Gloucestershire

Stroud deer carcass tested for 'big cat activity'

DNA tests for "big cat activity" are being carried out on a roe deer carcass found near Stroud in Gloucestershire.

Swabs were taken from the wounds of the deer by experts who visited Woodchester Park to examine the evidence.

The carcass was seen and photographed by a local walker at the National Trust-owned countryside estate.

A National Trust spokesman said the deer's injuries and way the carcass had been consumed were "thought to be highly indicative of big cat activity".

The DNA samples were taken by a professor from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick and the results are expected later this month.

'Occasional sightings'

David Armstrong, the National Trust's head ranger for the Gloucestershire countryside, said the deer carcass was found near an area of beech woodland sloping down to pastures.

"There are some very occasional sightings of big cats in the Cotswolds but they have wide territories, so are rarely present in one particular spot for long," he added.

"We'd be interested to hear of any more sightings at Woodchester."

Gloucestershire big cat expert, Rick Minter, said it was very helpful to have a forensic study of the deer carcass done "so we can learn about the subject".

"Although people occasionally report a possible big cat from a distance, close up encounters with such cats are rare," he said.

"Their hearing and movement are exceptional, which helps them avoid close contact with people."

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