As usual the last winter, i had many sightings locally of large cats. this springtime i have had even more than usual. January and February are always the two hottest months for certain activity mainly breeding as the two large cat species leopard and puma have naturalised to our climatic conditions there tends to be peak breeding and birthing times that correspond with weather patterns and food availability. this happens everywhere on earth. in Britain, there are more vocalisations reported at this time of year as one would expect.these calls are often loud and very persistent at times and when people hear them they are at a loss as to what they are. Pumas wail loudly and persistently when a female is in heat and the sound is similar to a human being strangled as some say, yet the calls i have heard are just like amplified domestic cat sounds but more wild sounding and ear splitting. Lynx also call during winter and they could easily be mistaken for foxes as they sound similar. a vixen screams usually up the scale slightly and a lynx down the scale but very similar in duration and consistency.The fox usually has the typical husky tones to the scream and the lynx has the typical meow to the scream, often classed as a bark as it is similar also to some muntjack barks but not so obviously a bark but a wail or a sigh kind of sound. Lynx can breed every year and usually give birth in April or May, similar tom pumas of which may breed every second or even third year. leopards may breed every third or fourth year, sometimes every tow years depending on how long cubs remain with mother or when she comes into oestrous again. gestation period is approx a hundred days for leopard and slightly less for puma, lynx is less still.Most cubs of all these cats will peak their births during the early summer months but because there can be a high mortality, they can come into season later in the summer and produce later litters which will mean that cubs can be born in the autumn and rarely during the winter.I receive most reports of kittens or cubs during May and June, and july especially when cubs are moving around.
The sawing calls of leopards are heard more often these days, but many folk will not interpret them as even being from a wild animal when heard, but winter is a good time to hear them calling and also mid summer nights and even during the daytime.
The most commonly reported large cat colour is still jet black with no visible spots or markings.
I welcome any sightings, especially local to me as it helps build the bigger picture of movements by any individual animals and helps try to assess possible territorial routes and their habits especially entering towns or villages.Reports from the New forest are especially welcome at the moment, as there is a lot going on as usual within this area and surrounds.
Any reports from the Cranborne, Fordingbridge area will be greatly received as i am working with other people on certain cases in these areas.