I am making an appeal to people from all walks of life for any information in regards to large cats
Appeal to all livestock farmers
- Farmers are more likely to come across large cats, especially livestock farmers.
- I am asking for your help. I need details of these animals.
- We need more evidence that these animals exist, for the general public and the governing bodies.
- All people who submit data will be treated with the utmost respect and privacy
- Your data will only be used by myself, or selected media (I am currently involved in a TV documentary) pending your approval.
- I need to know as to how many large cats may be in certain areas, their feeding habits, and the overall number of livestock taken, or not.
There are notable differences between the ways in which various predators or scavengers eat or kill their prey. Most sheep for example are killed by dogs but many are killed by cats. It is generally easy to ascertain whether or not an animal was killed and eaten by a big cat, dogs or by some other way. There are increasing reports of livestock being killed and eaten by large cats and involving many types of animals from rabbits, to ostriches, goats, sheep, cattle, ponies etc. Many animals have scratch or bite marks on them where an animal has tried but not succeeded. Often an animal disappears without a trace, or has been removed from a high fences area.
- If you see a large cat on a regular basis then maybe you would like to put up an infrared trigger camera to try and capture it! I can provide the camera.
- We all need to know as to what species are living wild and if there are any hybrids.
- You may hear strange sounds such as coughing, barking, or a sound reminiscent of the sawing of wood. These are the sounds of leopards.
- You may here wailing or screeching, hissing and growling, or sighing. These are the usual sounds of puma or lynx.
- Your dogs may act strange such as refuse to move or get out from a vehicle, growl at unseen presence, run home or back to owner with hackles up or shaking in terror. Large cats predate on dogs and dogs retain a natural instinct to be afraid.
I believe that farmers hold the key to providing hard evidence that these animals exist. A dead body would be the best, noting that cats should not be shot at unless caught in the act of attacking livestock, although I would not recommend even trying to shoot them then as there are many problems posed with the shooting of these animals, and you could make matters worse. Cats are hardy animals and can withstand much trauma but have the stamina and determination to carry on regardless. A cats dies with dignity and will do all it can to hide and die under cover often in a place where it feels secure. Even domestic cats often drag themselves home in a pitiful state. Many cats may sustain injuries from rifle or shotgun wounds and be unable to hunt their usual prey; this is when things can get serious as it is then that the animal may be a threat to domestic animals or even humans. If a female cat has dependant young, and is killed , then her cubs may attack anything out of hunger, or starve to death. So be warned, gun happy gamekeepers or hunters!
Appeal to all train drivers or railway personnel
Many train drivers see large cats. Cats feel secure along the thousands of miles of railway embankments across the UK as they are out of bounds areas for the public and dogs. They also provide the best linear roots to and from areas in which the cats use, therefore I am asking all people who work on the railways to provide me with information of their sightings or even dead animals on the line.
Appeal to all military personnel
The military are possibly in one of the best positions to obtain evidence of large cats living and breeding here in the UK, if they have not already got it. Information may be not passed on the public bodies. The thousands of square miles of training land are some of the best environments for large cat species to thrive, hunt, breed and feel secure. These areas are usually out of bounds to the public and as usual they become wildlife havens. I am aware that in some areas the military are aware of the presence of large cats. The army use top of the range technologies such as night vision and infrared devices regularly and soldiers are often in a position to see these animals themselves.
Appeal to all airport personnel
Many large cats feel safe around airports and airfields for the same reasons as mentioned above. These areas are out of bounds to the general public and cats feel safe in these sorts of areas. Cats prefer to put up with noise if it means safety from people or dogs. Many international airports have had large cats within the grounds. Smaller airports are often bordered by woodland, heathland or scrubby areas and provide safe areas for cats to use as bases and to hunt as they are often host to all manner of wildlife.
Appeal to all police officers
The police are often informed in relation to public sightings of large cats and many files are in existence relating to all manner of data concerning sightings, livestock killings, and public safety etc. some constabularies are open in regards to allowing public access to records, and many officers themselves openly acknowledge the fact they are aware that the animals exist and that they often in the line of consultancy. Wildlife and countryside crime officers may have more information on sightings. Many sightings of cats are made by officers on the beat or otherwise, but many go unrecorded. The police use top of the range technologies within aircraft and often are aware of large cats using these devises.
Appeal to all vets
Lately, more and more vets are being confronted with injured animals, as the public bring in dogs and cats with injuries made by large cats, often unknowingly. Many vets are not qualified to asses such injuries and are often at a loss as the animal responsible. More often than not it is easier for a vet to assume that injuries are inflicting by other domestic animals especially dogs, and this is usually the case. With so many dogs being kept by irresponsible owners, many attacks are made by dog on dog, but a few are made by large cats, often unseen by the dog owners. One such scenario from Dorset was a case of a dog that went missing, a labradoodle while being taken for a walk in a forest. A poster was displayed on a post, a single telephone call revealed that the owner had found the dog, but dead under a tree no too far away from where she had lost it. It had run off with its other companion, a Labrador. The labradoodle was muzzled as it was a bit boisterous and chased anything. The owners were at a loss as to what had happened to the dog when they found it days later. My enquiries revealed that it had been killed by a leopard. It was at the local vets, frozen. A check indicated that a very strong animal with large canine teeth the exact dimensions of an adult leopard had bitten through its muzzle and penetrated its skull and lower face. Also were thin deep scratches on its ear mantle where the cat had held it down and delivered the quick fatal bite to its face. Oddly enough, the owner had seen a huge black cat at the back of the small parking area as she got out of her car. She did not think anything of it! When the vet assistant was confronted with the logical explanation she was dumfounded. The vet declined any further investigations, or to comment.
It pays for folk to be educated or informed, especially professional bodies.
There are also many other areas of expertise or professional bodies that are more likely to be confronted with the big cat phenomenon, such as mountain rescue, coastguards ,fishermen , postmen, delivery drivers, milkmen.
Calling all fishermen, deer stalkers and gamekeepers
Many cats are seen by fishermen. Animals have been observed drinking, hunting or just moving about within reed beds, or other vegetation. Often sounds are heard. Fishermen are usually quiet and do not move around much offering a greater sense of security for the animal. Some cats have got used to people in these kind of situations. Footprints can be found, waterfowl remains may be found, sometimes stashed in trees. Cats need water and drink regularly, especially in hot weather. Areas around water are often cool during hot weather and the amount of cover is attractive.
People who work for deer management firms are also in a good position to see cats, and many do. Many have not and that often leads to scepticism by the individual ,it is worth remembering that cats look up , and are more aware than any other animal so ones chances are not greatly enlarged despite you sitting or standing in a high seat for hours. Many sceptical folk in this line of business have had their opinions turned around after seeing a big cat. I’m sure that there are many stalkers have not reported sightings and would like to.
Gamekeepers report many goings on as the kind of country areas where birds are reared are the kind of places where cats often venture and no doubt they feed on some of the birds. There is limited predation around rearing units by other species and released birds are less threatened. More birds get killed on roads than are predated on, and sometimes even more than shot! Some keepers have killed large cats and there is evidence of lynx being shot! Surely it is not worth killing such a wonderful endangered animal for the sake of one or two birds that are only worth a couple of pounds? You would gain much more money if you managed to photograph the animal alive.
Calling all folk
Who may have had sightings or experiences with large cats cat’s within the UK, especially the southern counties. It is estimated that only one in ten sightings are reported to investigators. People should not be afraid of ridicule. At least two thousand reports are collected every year by researchers and investigators alone. Your reports are vital and serve to piece together the massive puzzle. With total cooperation we can aim to get a good overall picture of the phenomenon once and for all. We can’t do it without you. It is important to gather as much information as possible in regards to this subject if scientists are to
- Prove that large cats exist and are breeding in the UK
- Ascertain numbers, species, territories and other biological factors,
- Hopefully give them protection, regarding their species and origins,
- Inform all relevant bodies of known data, including the public and any safety issues that may be relevant.
I estimate that only one in ten people report their sightings, this may be due to lack of knowledge as to who to submit data to, or fear of disbelief or ridicule from other people.
Generally, over 2000 reports are logged by various researchers yearly, and of these at least one quarter will be genuine sightings of abnormal cats or other animals, of which approximately half of these will be sightings of large none indigenous cats or lynx.