Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sussex big cat sighting...

A black leopard sighting has been reported to me this evening (20/1/2015) from near Seaford, in Sussex. A motorist was driving home from Seaford towards Cuckmere River when according to the witness, "a very big black cat casually stepped out of the bushes along the opposing side of the road and walked out right in front of me - it must have been 20ft away I could and still can't quite believe it! As I got to maybe 18-15 ft away it upped its pace and jumped up the bank to left of the road and disappeared across the pathway."

Over the past five or so years there has been a rise in sightings from the Seaford area; although there have been numerous sightings reported from the area over the last fifty or so years. Statistics based on our files suggest a small population of melanistic leopards which have used the railway lines, rivers and notably Seaford Golf Course for navigation. With Friston Forest close by there is plenty of foliage for a large cat or two to disappear into and with Castle Hill Nature Reserve and the forest flanking the area of sightings; it's no real shock to find such a concentrated area of reports. We'd also be interested to find out whether Drusillas Zoo have ever had anyone report a large cat in the vicinity.
Large cats are often reported around local zoo parks, attracted by smells and possibly cats housed at the parks although as  far as we're aware Drusillas only keeps servals. Even so, one huge patch of woodland and forest provides a perfect green belt for an elusive cat if it wanted to makes it way through to Ditchcling, Portslade and Hove golf course where a few years ago now a professional golfer reported that he'd seen a large cat one afternoon whilst he was practising. If one follows the greenbelt - taking in Steyning, Patching, Arundel, Midhurst and cat on the hunt could easily end up in Hampshire within a few weeks. The term 'looking for a needle in a haystack' certainly applies here...

Monday, 29 December 2014

Was a 'big cat' really shot on Sheppey in 2001? Probably not...

...but for more info follow the link and join the BIG CATS IN KENT facebook page by clicking HERE

Monday, 22 December 2014

Annual update...

So as it's the end of the year I thought I'd share a few of my annual statistics regarding local 'big cat' sightings. Firstly, it's been more quiet this year again due to my lack of interest in appealing via newspapers but the cats are still being seen in the same areas as they were - or indeed their relatives were - around twenty or so years ago. Ashford, rural Gravesham, Sevenoaks, rural Maidstone, Canterbury feature heavily again with around 65% of the 122 reports received being melanistic leopards.

Puma make up around 20% of reports this year, the rest being lynx and a handful of possible Jungle Cats. I see no reason as to whether such populations are diminishing; sightings are reasonably consistent for each area. A majority of witnesses now report sightings online rather than via actual newspapers; this is due to the fact that in Kent there are far less newspapers doing the rounds and the subject is pretty much 'old hat'.

As each year goes by I'm out less and less due to writing commitments but if anyone wishes to join me on a few vigils please feel free to get in touch - just remember; it's highly unlikely we'll se a 'big cat' but may find some sort of evidence. I've also noticed this year a slight increase in online 'research' groups (in other words, groups formed by people who don't like certain opinion in one group so decide to form their own!!); a couple of which have tried to adapt on my KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH tag; whilst one seems to have vanished - doesn't surprise me considering the chap who ran it claimed to have had some 200 personal 'big cat' sightings!!!!!! (he must be the luckiest man on earth and yet never has a camera with him!)

Reports from Sussex have remained steady, and again consistent regards to three main species in certain areas and I've also received more reports from Surrey and rural London than last year. Sadly, video footage seems to be decreasing in quality and I'm seeing more blobs, blurs, domestic cats and foxes than ever - shame those who shot the footage haven't realised this yet!
I wouldn't say that deer kills are on the increase, it's just that this year more have been found by witnesses and reported. However, it's definitely a case of cats following the deer populations but feeding on rabbit, pheasant, pigeon and foxes when deer are not present. Sheep kills are neither up or down from last year; but as expected seem more common around lambing. Still trying to obtain permission to publish a certain photo of what appears to show a very large cat in Kent; but I'm not holding my breath...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Cuxton sighting...

A black leopard was seen on 24th November 2014 by a couple walking through woods. they had become lost and began to follow a trail which brought them out to a field when suddenly a large black cat ran across in front of them at a distance of 50 yards. The female witness present stated, "The animal was sleek with a very long tail and just so fast as it moved..." - this follows on from a few weeks previous when a Cuxton resident woke one night, looked out of his window and observed a big, black cat which was much bigger than the domestic cat and fox he'd seen earlier that night...

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Taking a leopard for a stroll...

This fascinating piece of Pathe News shows a woman in '60s London walking her pet leopard down her local High Street and across her common...just check out the reaction of the poor pet dogs it encounters!  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/good-to-share/10596046/Prowling-the-streets-of-London-with-a-Leopard.html

Monday, 10 November 2014

Swanley sighting...

"Just to let you know myself and my girlfriend sighted a big black cat walking across a big open field in Swanley two weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon at about 4pm (just as the sun was setting). We were driving back from the Swanley interchange on the A21 towards Sidcup and were just at the top of the hill driving past the petrol station and drive in McDonalds when looking left down towards some fields/stables at the end of the Cray valley golf course, we saw the large cat stalking through the field. We both looked at each other and said “Did you see what I just saw?” and we both said “Yes!”

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Forest Hill 'panther' ?

"I saw a cat like creature in Forest Hill. I was in the Millennium Albion Woods and it ran past us, we disturbed it. I was freaked out as I was with my kids. It was not a deer, muntjac are supposed to inhabit this green area. I know what deer look like, this was a black feline animal, very swift, it was large too, so not a domestic cat.  It all happened so quickly and totally unexpected so it was difficult to make much out. What really caught my eye was its black colour, it moved very quickly like a cat, I would've expected small muntjac in there I have seen them elsewhere and this was not a deer. It was too fluid and powerful. It's size I would say was appx three foot from head to back legs. I can't say for sure I saw it's tail I'm afraid. It happened in an instant my kids didn't see it at all. It was bigger than a domestic cat, much bigger, obviously very shy. It reminded me of TV programmes I've watched about pumas or lynx. I thought, "I saw a deer it can't have been a big cat" but my eyes told me it was a cat. I'm convinced. I had never known of their existence until I got home and did a bit of research which is where I came across your stuff. It happened at about 11.30am on Tuesday 28th October, 2014. In the Albion Millennium Gardens in Forest Hill off Albion Villas Way".