Big Cats - in Staffordshire?
Many people are convinced a puma or a panther or a lynx or mountain lion or … something… is hiding in the uninhabited spaces of Staffordshire. Let’s consider some evidence of 'alien big cats'…
Despite many claimed sightings of the big cats in Staffordshire, no-one has ever caught one of the beasts here, or taken totally definitive photographic evidence. No one local has reported ‘losing’ a big cat from their collection, or having had one escape.
On his page we present some of the evidence – and you decide.
Nevertheless... Keith Mansfield, who's an author and scientist, was visiting Rudyard Lake in the September of 2008, when he came across something which made the hairs on the back of his head stand on end. Keith reported his sighting to BBC Radio Stoke and Breakfast Show presenter Pete Morgan called him back to find out more...
Keith also managed to get a few seconds of footage on his mobile phone. The quality's not great as the subject is in the distance, but you can clearly see the animal that he saw…
And, it’s not just in the north of the county that supposed ‘big cats’ have been seen. They’ve been seen on Cannock Chase, and even in parts of Stafford.
One believer in the theory is Steven Silverwood, a former media production student from Staffordshire University.
His search ended up taking him across the border into Shropshire however… See what Stephen came up with by viewing his film, which is now posted on YouTube:
But if Stephen had to keep trailing his cat for miles to get shots of it, one man just had to go for a walk, and there it was! Greg Spencer, a business consultant, was visiting Staffordshire in 2006 – and gave us this account:
Realised straight away that it couldn’t be an ordinary black cat cos too big, but took a few moments too study it and then was sure this was some kind of puma or panther. Moving very stealthily thru old woodland at the side of the canal, its large paws and its size and movement make me 100% certain this wasn’t just a large domestic black cat. My wife was with me but she only saw it fleetingly.
How many are there?
The British Big Cat Society is convinced that they exist. Its report a few years ago revealed that 2,123 sightings of big cats were reported in a one year period - between April 2004 and July 2005.
How did they get there?
In 1976, the Government introduced the Dangerous Wild Animals Act to protect the public and ensure wild animals were looked after properly. Up until then, it was perfectly legal in the UK to keep exotic animals - leopards, pumas and panthers to crocodiles and poisonous snakes - as household pets!
With all owners then needing licenses - and having to pay much more money to care for them - many of the wild animals were placed in official zoos.
What’s more, no less an authority than the BBC Wildlife magazine has also looked into the theory, reporting in 2006 that: "With fresh new evidence and sightings on the increase, the British Big Cats Society is now tantalisingly close to being able to provide conclusive proof of their presence."
What do you think?
last updated: 04/01/2010 at 10:26
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