It’s a well known fact that big cats are not normally seen in the UK. Despite this, several reports of big cat sightings and mysterious attacks on animals has left investigators scratching their heads – wondering if an unparalleled investigation is in order. Despite the long held convention that the creatures simply do not exist in the wild in the UK, the evidence seems to be piling up after a recent attack.
Gloucester has long been rumored to be home to a big cat that either made its way to the area or has been living there all along. Stories tell of a panther that has been spotted by hikers throughout the area still coming and going in plain view and the minds of the public. Those from the area find themselves split between the two possibilities. On the one hand there are those who say the big cat could have escaped somehow – although how it survived in the harsh winters in the wild and without being spotted is anyone’s guess. On the other, there are those who say the stories are just that – and what started as a simple prank has grown out of control.
But the latter school of thought may be given an opportunity to reconsider as a recent attack on local deer has left investigators collecting samples from the carcasses and sending them off to labs for testing – to determine the identity of the creature that attacked them. The deer, which was discovered just outside Stroud in Woodchester Park, was found under mysterious circumstances. Far from the remains of an ordinary animal attack, they appeared to have been partially devoured by a creature of immense size – far larger than the ordinary predators in the area. An associate professor at the University of Warwick soon after took DNA samples from the wounds after the creature was discovered to be tested later. The results of those tests are expected to be released around the end of January. Will this finally close the case on Big Cats in the UK if it turns out to be a positive match?
It seems unlikely the mystery would be solved simply by confirmation. There’s still the question of when and how they got out into the wild so far from their native habitat. Panthers are actually ordinary jaguars, cougars, and leopards that have a genetic melanistic coloration that gives them their dark tint. And so if any of these breeds appear to be the match in the DNA test, it will go a long way toward explaining what may be going on in the UK. Of course we’ll have to wait until the end of the month to find out. It’s rare to encounter a big cat in the wild up close, but most witnesses who reported seeing the creatures described them lurking in the distance just as they came around a corner or a tree.
There are also some who have sought a supernatural explanation for the big cats witnessed in the UK so often. While the creatures are said to appear out of nowhere and disappear just as mysteriously, this doesn’t seem to explain how something insubstantial could manage to kill a deer. Of course when dealing with such an unknown, it seems any explanation soon becomes a possibility, no matter how remote.