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The Beast of Trowbridge

the playing mantisthe playing mantis Posts: 2,129
edited September 2013 in The cake stop
Is it real, have you seen it, do you think pumas/leaopards are roaming the british countryside. have u seen one whilst out on your bike?
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  • simonheadsimonhead Posts: 1,399
    I think there probably are a few on the lose in the UK and they stick to sparsely populated area. Never seen one but I spent a week camping on Dartmoor in the late 90's and many of the locals were convinced there was most definately a big cat on the loose.
    Life isnt like a box of chocolates, its like a bag of pic n mix.
  • indeed there is.

    i have seen the back end of mother and fully 2 cubs, crossing my path when coming down a remote coombe in the quantocks.

    likewise one of my fathers golfing chums, a salt of the earth, doesnt take any bollox, complete sceptic type, has seen one. he lives in the essex countryside and went to let his dog out through the patio windows for its nightly p, but it refused to go and just stood at his side trembling. so he went and turned ont he spotlight that illuminates a wide scope of his land, and he saw a big panther type black cat sitting on the edge of the lawn. shocked, he turned the light off, shut the patio windows and phoned a local gamekeeper friend, to come over and bring some suitable 'gear'. however he observed it slink off into the surrounding country side before he arrived. probably a good job as i dont think the kind of stuff the average gamekeeper carries, would do much against a panther other than p*ss it off.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Trowbridge indeed... We've had the beast of Bodmin moor for years now. He's such a celeb that his social diary is full up for months
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    At a glance i thought that read 'The Beast of Travelodge'.

    I've seen plenty of those.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    That's too much information!
  • TCR4x4TCR4x4 Posts: 38
    There is at least one big cat on a local hill round here.

    I've seen footprints, got a photo somewhere too. Far to big to be a normal cat and isn't any breed of dog I've ever come accross.

    Also, its known by a few round here in the loop that in the 90s, a big cat was hit by a car on the road running past the hill. The police covered it up, despite many people seeing the body by saying it was a car vs car accident.
    Apparently the driver was paid to keep quiet, as we're the hill wardens and the big cat expert they brought in to identify the animal.

    I don't understand why people don't think its possible, hundreds of big cats were released in the 70s, so why is it so inconceivable that a few did a good job of surviving? Just because they don't run down the high street stealing babies, people seem to think they cannot exist.
  • the interesting thing is that there were many sightings b4 the dangerous animals act introduced in the 70's, so although that undoubtedly contributed they were here before then too.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 42,777
    Anyone see that programme about the Leopards in India? (not off topic)

    The Leopards who were scared of people after being trapped and tormented were the dangerous one's and the one's left to thier own devices were wary of people. The one's in Bomaby were thriving on stray dogs and vermin without troubling humans and humenas were unbothered by thier presence. So its quite possible if these big cats are similar that they just blend in.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
  • I don't often actually contribute to forums but then I love discussions like this!

    There is currently no evidence that any species of big cats are roaming and breeding in Britain. While it is true that many cats were probably released in the late '70s these will all be dead by now and more importantly were highly unlikely to end up breeding. The numbers of animals would have been far too low to create densities needed to let animals meet and breed together. Even if breeding pairs were released the chances of survival would have been very low for captive bred animals or those caught in foreign climates (and habitats). Some did live for a while, such as Felicity in the Highlands, (though as far as I remember she was deliberately released to create a big cat story).

    While there are many mammal species in Britain which are rarely seen they are regulaly run over, found dead and occasionally even seen and most importantly photographed. No one has ever produced a decent photo of any big cat. Why? There are photos of polecats, pine martens, badgers, even wild cats but nothing resembling a big cat. There are many photographers out there, as well as many naturalists and scientists, and increasing numbers of people using camera traps. The fact that there is not a single big cat photo can only be attributed to the fact that there aren't any. Likewise the lack of road kills. Big cats would get killed occasionally even if they were in low densities and especially in parts of England with extensive road networks. The idea of cover ups is laughable. Why would the police care if there were big cats about? Who would pay to keep people quiet and why? If there were really big cats around most land owners would want to publicise the fact in order for them to be got rid of to protect livestock.

    Mentioning livestock leads to another clue. Lack of proven big cat kills. Again, no one has found a verifiable big cat kill other than the odd situation with a short lived event such as Felicity. I was reminded of a programme a few years back on big cats when an American fur trapper came over to look for signs of cats. He was experienced in tracking wolves, coyotes, lynx, bobcat, and puma. He couldn't find any cat tracks in areas reputed to harbour some. In an amusing end to the programme a British big cat believer was showing him photos of kills which he believed were done by cats, the American was simply answering "dog, dog, dog, dog, dog....".

    The simple fact is that if big cars were around we would know it. In areas which have large predators in close proximity to people it is obvious they are there. People in Nairobi and India know leopards are around because they see them and hear them. Likewise Americans know coyotes are around because they kill pet dogs. It is feasible that lynx could be living in some remote, forested parts of the UK but anything bigger is sadly fantasy.
  • this is your opinion. also there is no evidence to suggest they are not here. its funny how the forestry commission and the police (in certain locales) publicly and more often privately acknowledge that do do exist here, and indeed the army admitted cats were seen when they were called out on the exmoor? all those years back.

    said animals are not in huge numbers, as such the chances of finding a road kill body are miniscule. think how many martens and polecats there are kicking around in there known areas, not to mention the areas they are not officially recorded in but have been spotted. how often do you see roadkill of these in the areas they are known to populate, very occasionally. the cats numbers are minuscule comparatively. likewise if someone noticed such a roadkill the normal person would most likely contact the police. the police in many cases don't want this broadcast, and cover stuff up. the reason they do this as the public, well certain sections, inceasingly in todays society would a, go mental about safety (even though such a threat is tiny), and b, you would get a load of nutjob great white hunter wannabees roaming around shooting anything that moves. the police simply do not have the resources to a deal with the backlash that an widespread official announcement would cause.

    there are many cases of gamekeepers/farmers and the like in the past, shooting these cats and destroying or more often burying the corpse, mostly because an exotic cat, that should not be here, is not covered in there shooting/hunting license and they are thus open to prosecution. i dont i think if one was shot now, this situation wouldn't arise, but it did in the past.

    you state that those released in the 70's wouldnt breed, again you dont know that. its misleading to think that the dangerous animals act was the fuel for these cats. it wasnt. sightings have occurred for many years before. the travelling menageries of the 1800's is a far more likely source, where escapees were relatively common, due to the basic nature of such enterprises, and recovery was nigh on impossible.


    the number of cats is is simply not comparable with those in africa or india. they know they are there in those places as there are proportionally (in comparison to here) loads more there.

    that fur trapper program was poo pooing danny bamplings sightings. but if you know the background to it, it was done in a couple of locales, and was not at all extensive.

    these animals have huge roaming territories, and with all the game available have no need to come in close proximity to man. as for saying no livestock killings have been proven cat, im not so sure. check out reports if you have the inclination. im certain that you will find many that cannot be dis-proven as cat, and many where the experts have said it looks like cat. obviously without conclusive proof, they are not going to 100% say it was as that would open them up to potential ridicule from skeptics like you. you say there are no verifiable kills bar the odd situation like felicity. well felicity was the only documented example of a tame animal being purported to be wild, and i was not aware that felicity managed any kills, due to her tameness and lack of wild skills.

    also i think you over estimate the number of camera traps there are....99.9% of the countryside is not covered by camera traps. some scientists and naturalists do acknowledge they exist here too. duff hart davis and even dear old bill oddie.

    so your saying the many many credible witnesses are talking bollox?

    well i know what i saw, i believe those who i know who claim to have seen them. and i also know if you talk to farmers/gamekeepers/those who work on the land and the like in certain areas they will say the same thing.
  • I think the pertinent point is regarding credible witnesses. Most people are not experienced at observing wildlife and in particular judging size. Considering there are probably 100 000+ knowledgeable and active bird watchers in the uk along with thousands more amateur naturalists and photographers, plus hundreds of scientists and environmental and ecological consultants, many of whom are regularly out in remote parts of the uk, it is frankly unfeasible that if big cats were present that they would not have been seen by an experienced and knowledgeable witness who could give a detailed description and identify the animal to species level. A comparable situation would be with Pardel or Iberian lynx in Spain. Critically endangered with barely hundreds left in the wild and living in remote, mountainous and wooded countryside yet they are regularly seen by patient observers. Why would the situation be so different with leopards in the UK especially as there has presumable been little or no persecution of these cats and so they would have little reason to fear and avoid man?

    I spent five years studying biology at university and fifteen years working for an environmental body dealing with scientists, farmers, game keepers, and amateur naturalists. I have never met anyone with any degree of knowledge who believed big cats were roaming the UK.

    The UK and in particular England is simply too densely populated to allow large carnivores to live and breed without being seen. As you say they have huge territories which is exactly why they would be killed on roads and railways with enough regularity to be found. Also, if they were in such low densities to avoid being found then the chances of a breeding pair forming is tiny. You also state that there is enough game for them. Well, looking at Trowbridge on google maps I can only say that the only 'game' big cats would bother about are sheep. Why would a large predator bother hunting a fast and wary roe deer when here is a field of dozy sheep there for the taking.

    What certainly are roaming some parts of Britain are domestic/wild cat hybrids, most famously the "Kellas cats" of Morayshire which are bigger than either wild or domestic cats and black. It is far more plausible that the many sightings of 'big cats' are simply cats like these seen badly or briefly. It is far more logical to explain the sightings as a verified and proven creature rather than alien species for which no hard evidence exists.
  • fine. i know what i saw.

    i also know countryfolk, farmers and gamekeepers in particular love talking to, and being love being totally honest to condescending officials from environmental bodies, especially when they lump them in the diane francis bracket.
  • There's a landowner in Scotland who publicly stated he wanted to re introduce wild wolves into his estate.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-22220384

    I disagree with the comment that all of the uk is too densely populated. If you visit the north west of Scotland, its is very very remote.
    For hill walkers/ climbers.... Around the back of the mountain Beinn Eighe, you get stunning views where you can see for miles without any sign of human existence. It's possible not see a single person all day and can be errily quiet without a sound :-)
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • There's a landowner in Scotland who publicly stated he wanted to re introduce wild wolves into his estate.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-h ... s-22220384

    I disagree with the comment that all of the uk is too densely populated. If you visit the north west of Scotland, its is very very remote.
    For hill walkers/ climbers.... Around the back of the mountain Beinn Eighe, you get stunning views where you can see for miles without any sign of human existence. It's possible not see a single person all day and can be errily quiet without a sound :-)

    Good luck with that. Some folk up here are up in arms about the reintroduction of the White Tailed Eagles and European Beaver (both seem to be flourishing) due to the "destruction" to the environment (WTF?!) and livestock, i reckon they are only doing what Beavers and Eagles do. So wolfie has no chance!
    At the erse end o' a coo!
  • ther was also talk of bears!!

    the large carnivores wont ever be re-introduced, to roam freely, however the objectiosn to the eagle and beavers isnt as clear cut. obviously eagles will take lambs, and peopel should be compensated, but i think they will/would boost tourism far greater than any livestock losses (eagles)/habitat changes (beavers) they cause.
  • VmanF3VmanF3 Posts: 240
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • That's a remarkably empty "evidence" page"!
  • VmanF3VmanF3 Posts: 240
    That's a remarkably empty "evidence" page"!


    That's exactly what occurred to me.
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • yep cos thats all the evidence, some tin pot organisation run by nuts. see my other comments about the willingness of people to talk. that is all.
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 812
    there is no evidence to suggest they are not here.
    What would that evidence look like? A cow that's not been killed by a Puma, or perhaps a field without tiger footprints across it?
  • VmanF3VmanF3 Posts: 240
    You're in danger of going down the Loch Ness Monster way of thinking here:

    The 'Monster' will never, ever be proved not to exist because there is no evidence proving it doesnt. The 'Monster' will only ever be proved to exist. It's a topsy turvy way of doing business.
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • see prior comments, that is all. if you dont really know what your talking about, dont bother.
  • VmanF3VmanF3 Posts: 240
    see prior comments, that is all. if you dont really know what your talking about, dont bother.


    You simply cannot state, that there is no evidence to prove that they're not present, to prove that they are here? That's just a daft way of thinking and most certainly not scientific.

    But, as you say, you know what you saw. Good on you. I have not seen any big cats here, apart from the big fat ginger Tom next door but one.
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • im not talking about that comment, im talking about mr biologist stating that no one he talked to in all his years in the field ever saw one. and my comment in response to that.
  • VmanF3VmanF3 Posts: 240
    im not talking about that comment, im talking about mr biologist stating that no one he talked to in all his years in the field ever saw one. and my comment in response to that.
    .

    I apologise Sir!
    Big Red, Blue, Pete, Bill & Doug
  • so you should...anyway that comment you highlighted is valid...prove its not!!
  • Considering there seems to be about 2000 sightings a year of supposed big cats it seems that plenty of people are willing to talk. I find it a tad unlikely that every single person who makes a good, reliable and verifiable sighting is reluctant to talk to any scientist or naturalist. Maybe there's another reason? Oh yes, there aren't any good, reliable and verifiable sightings because there is nothing to spot.

    It's interesting that in the page linked to above the bit about the lynx and the leopard cat that were shot (I do accept there are occasional escapes, just not leopards and puma breeding) it mentions how the lynx killed lots of sheep while the leopard cat killed lots of hens and ducks, exactly the kind of behaviour I would expect and exactly what isn't happening on a regular basis (unless there are dogs on the loose).
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    It's another Thatcherite conspiracy ... They get shipped at night and dumped on Bodmin moor
  • ballysmateballysmate Posts: 15,628
    Some years back I was talking to a bobby that used to have the pleasure of patrolling Cannock Chase on horseback. He told me that he had seen a big cat and it had been identified as a serval. (Not big big but big enough.)
  • pinnopinno Posts: 42,777
    God exists. No one has seen him but he exists. We cannot prove that he does not exist because no-one has seen him/her?!? (Just playing devils advocat Playing mantis).

    Anyhow, I think it is quite feasible that there are one or two roaming around. When my tabby slips out, the reprobate ( I keep the fukkers in at night), she just blends in and comes sauntering in as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth and she's fat and a useless hunter.
    She dissappears into and out of the thicket like a ghost. I do not know how many bloody hours I have spent trying to get her in at night despite spotlights, security lights, tins of sardines...I sometimes cannot find her anywhere.
    Cats are very clever creatures and if Leopards in Bombay are rarely seen by people in a very densely populated city, then why not some large cats living here?
    In years spent in Kenya, I only ever saw 2 Leopards in the wild - but they were omnipresent.
    seanoconn - gruagach craic!
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