- At least eight big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire over the last three years
- In 2013 alone there were three reports – including a mangled deer carcass
- Panther-like creatures were first reported in Comberton village in 1982
- Since 1998 there have been 63 calls to police about big cats in the county
13:09 EST, 2 January 2014
13:29 EST, 2 January 2014
Eight big cat sightings have been reported to police in Cambridgeshire over the last three years, prompting fears the fabled ‘Fen Tiger’ may be on the loose in the county.
New figures show that in 2013 alone big cats were spotted in a back garden in Friday Bridge, on a
road in Comberton and there was a report of a ‘heavily mauled deer
carcass’ in Melbourn.
Between 1998 and 2010 there were 63 calls to Cambridgeshire Police reporting sightings of the mysterious ‘Fen Tiger’ – a big cat that has apparently been stalking the area since 1982.
Stalking: There have been at least eight big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire over the last three years. Since 1998 there have been 63 calls to police about big cats in the county
In 2012 the owners of some sheep reported their flock being attacked by an ‘unknown animal, possible cat’.
Cyclist Gavin Elliott-Turner also claimed to have spotted two large ‘panther-like creatures’ in the snow in Melbourn in 2012, but did not report it to police.
Officers received a report from another resident of a ‘puma type animal’ running across a garden in Upwood in 2011.
Official data also shows three reported sightings in 2010 including a ‘large cat seen in a garden in Somersham and a ‘very large wild cat’ described as looking like a Lynx in Little Eversden.
A large wild cat was also reported for attacking domesticated cats in Great Shelford.
These giant feline footprints were photographed in Cambridgeshire in January 2009. Residents called police 63 times from 1998 to 2010 convinced they had spotted the fabled Fen Tiger
Spotted: This map shows big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire since 1982. Eight big cats have been reported to police in the county in the last three years alone
Kerry Goodayle (left) and Rachel Slater (right) spotted giant paw prints in the snow in Cambridge in 2009
NEVER MIND CAMBRIDGESHIRE… WHAT ABOUT GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Over the last 10 years, there have been dozens of sightings of big cats in Gloucestershire.
Dubbed the ‘Beast of Woodchester’, one such big cat was held responsible for two deer carcases found in the countryside near Stroud.
In 2012 the National Trust commissioned tests to see whether they could confirm that a big cat had killed the deer, but the results could only establish the presence of fox saliva.
Despite this, big cat experts came forward to suggest that although foxes may have scavenged on the deer after they died, they could still have been killed by a big cat.
Gloucestershire resident Wilf Ashman, 72, says he has seen a big black cat seven times in the past ten years, most recently in 2010.
Other recent sightings include a ‘pure white predator’ spotted in nearby Nailsworth, just weeks before the two dead deer were found.
Naturalist Jonathan McGowan, from Dorset, said more big cats are being spotted because of ‘lack of vegetation.’
He added: ‘They certainly do exist. There are more and more of them. Two out of three sightings are genuine.’
‘There are more pumas and big cats around at this time of year as it is mating season. The males roam around more to find females. And there will also be youngsters that have been kicked out by their mothers… The breeding season is between now and February.’
Mr McGowan added: ‘The academics are now starting to come on board and realise there really are big cats in the UK.’
The first reported sighting of a big cat in Cambridgeshire was in the village of Cottenham in 1982.
Two sightings were reported to police in 1998, nine in 2000, five the next year, nine in 2002 and six the next year.
In 2006 sheep were found dead in Huntingdon with claw marks and a ‘large cat’ was seen on a common in St Neots.
The trail led to Hauxton, Sawtry and Elm in 2009 and more sightings in Upwood and Somersham last year.
No ordinary cat: The paw prints measured around five inches long – far larger than those of a domestic cat
The Cambridgeshire paw prints are around the same size as a human hand. ‘Panther-like creatures’ were first reported in Comberton village in 1982. Since then there have been scores of sighting reported to police
There have also been sightings in villages between Royston and the M11.
Paul Westwood, from the Big Cat
Monitors group – which collates sightings across the UK, said: ‘It is
quite possible that there are big cats in Cambridgeshire.
is quite a good place with plenty of cover and a lot of food around. It
is a great habitat for any big sized cat to live in.’
In 2012 keepers at nearby Shepreth Wildlife Park, near Royston, in Hertfordshire, set up CCTV cameras after four sightings were made in just two months.
And in the same year Alan Bates, of Fordham, near Newmarket, reported seeing a black panther-like beast on a country road in Shepreth.
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7 minutes ago
Fen Tiger name for pirates in earlier times my friends . They are still about today but disguise themselves as local government Councillors
38 minutes ago
Hopefully with deer numbers growing there will be plenty of food for them and they will not need to bother livestock.
39 minutes ago
I saw one in Sussex back in the ’80s…up close in my barn. That animal should not have been wandering around. I heard from others that it was hunting wild wallabies. Try recalling that sight to someone after getting back from the pub lol
Leeds, United Kingdom,
48 minutes ago
It’s not a cat – it’s a dog. Anyone who knows a cats anatomy can see that.
Girne, United Kingdom,
1 hour ago
My son, two step sons and I saw one on the way to Stamford and informed the police. True or not we all saw what we saw an it was an amazing big cat. This was in 1999/2000 so I guess the have bred since then?
Liverpool, United Kingdom,
1 hour ago
Its not like an ordinary cat because its an ordinary DOG!!
Bath, United Kingdom,
1 hour ago
A whippet and deer prints?
Swansea, United Kingdom,
1 hour ago
This, like all the vary Big Cat sightings in this country .. is a load of cobblers. With todays technology, the very fact that SCORES of ppl claim to have seen it without one getting anything like a usable photos goes to show its all fake.
Just a load of ppl jumping on the bandwagon…like UFO abductee’s to make someone look at them.
1 hour ago
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