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Experts say Gloucestershire big cat will not attack humans

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 21, 2012

Frank Tunbridge sets up a secret camera

Frank Tunbridge sets up a secret camera

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FEARS that big cats could be a danger to people have been allayed by a tracker who believes one is living on the edge of Gloucester.

After three new big cat sightings in the city last week, there were calls for police to patrol the streets.

But Frank Tunbridge, who has been staking them out for decades, said the public shouldn't worry.

Mr Tunbridge said big cat attacks are extremely rare.

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"There has not been a serious attack in the UK going back 30 years," he said. "They may take a domestic dog but they will stay away from humans."

Yesterday The Citizen reported how John Wildsmith saw an animal with an arched back, narrow neck and head, around the same size as an Alsatian dog, near his home, and there have been similar sightings in Kingsway and Barnwood.

There was a report from near Hempsted tip on January 17, and Tuffley milkman Ian Coward saw two on his rounds in Kaskelot Way and St Swithuns Road in Hempsted in October 2010.

Mr Tunbridge believes a large black cat may be living in and around the Hempsted area for long periods.

"It's been sighted by a number of people in that area now," he said. "It could well be spending some periods of time in that area, though not exclusively. It is a very credible sighting."

Joy Stone saw a big cat prowling at Portway, Upton St Leonards, on February 4, at around 4.30pm.

"I was out walking a dog and suddenly, I saw this big, black thing grazing on the grass," said Mrs Stone, from Cheltenham. "It saw the dog at first and got up, put its head down at an angle and stared long and hard like it had seen some dinner.

"Then it saw me and ran off. It was not a domestic cat, that's for sure. It was the size of a Labrador."

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  • silverspider  |  August 05 2012, 12:40PM

    I saw my black cat cross a busy main road, all I can say is he looked rather big and I can see why people come to this daft conclusion, but really my big lack fluffy cat was all it was.

  • Chaos100  |  June 27 2012, 7:55AM

    Lets get the police to patrol the streets beuase of these fake sightings ? Utter nonsense, what else will we be looking for them to do ? Decorate the so called under priviledged's free houses as well as do their gardening, honestly ...... are we in the hand cart already ?

  • spindles12  |  February 24 2012, 11:06AM

    As there have been no pictures of these "big cats", no evidence of DNA on their "kills" and footprints that are found that may or may not be from a cat, why hasn't anyone ever looked for, or found, any droppings? Surely, a creature as big as the cats that have been seen must leave their business somewhere and, knowing how big some of the small local moggies piles are I should think a big cat pile would be very noticeable. As they want to advertise their presence,big cats aren't prone to covering up their messages but leave them in prominent places in their territory to warn off other big cats (perhaps that's why the local cat population around here aren't bothering to cover up any more). Big cats scratch trees don't they? The higher up they can get their scratches the better as far as they are concerned so is there any evidence of scratches much higher than a normal moggy would make? If these big cats are around then they would have left some other evidence to verify their existence and the more opportunities to get DNA the better.

  • Cats_R_Us  |  February 22 2012, 11:47PM

    and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on Just a crying shame he doesn''t know what he's talking about.

  • Rimestock  |  February 22 2012, 11:20PM

    seem to keep harking on, and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on and on, and on

  • zooman1  |  February 22 2012, 8:52PM

    According to the BCinB cypto group the following people have "Trigger Cameras" over numerous parts of England, Wales and Scotland. If you note that "Rick Minter" is mentioned as is Shaun Stevens who posted on previous threads (Argyllbigcats). Frank Tunbridge and Rick Minter as well as Shaun Stevens are all members of this group. Given that all of these people have all of these camera's a lot of questions start to arise such as: Given all the cameras then why has there been no factual evidence seen and shown? If all of these people have such equipment then why has no one ever shown anything? Rick Minter the author of his new book that just so happened to come out as the spat of recent sightings have occured and Frank Tunbridge is his sidekick, is it not very odd to find both supplying all these stories, sightings etc? (the video camera was given to the lady by Frank, the sightings investigated by Frank, the book is Rick's and is getting mentioned/airplay) What gains does Frank and Rick have? (money, fame, fortune) Frank and Rick have BBC contracts and are being filmed for a new documentary, a bit odd is it not that this is to be aired this summer/autumn and the book came out a month or so ago? Why give a lady a digicam to record an event when all of these cameras are out there? Paul Nicolaides - Buckinghamshire (2) Bob Bellamy - Cambridgeshire (2) Gaynor Beck - Cambridgeshire (1) Terry Dye - Cambridgeshire (1) Penny Odell - Cornwall (1) Joe Parkes - Dorset (1) Rick Minter - Gloucestershire (3) Rick Minter - Herefordshire (2) Rik Snook - Kent (2) Sharon Ramsden - Kent (1) Alan Fleming - Lancashire (1) Anne Paratt - Leicestershire (1) Richard Ashworth - Manchester (1) Alan Fleming - Merseyside (1) Richard Ashworth - Oxfordshire (1) Chris Moiser - Somerset (2) Shaun Stevens - Somerset (7 to be placed in the near future) Rick Minter - Somerset (1) Gary Ridley - Surrey (1) Derek Bilston - Sussex (2) Charlie Bones - Sussex (3) Paul Gander - Sussex (1) Martin Cotterill - Warwickshire (1) Tim Jenkins - Warwickshire (1) Rick Minter - Wiltshire (1) Surely: If all of these cameras are out there, then where is the proof, why has there been no factual hard science from these cameras? The question begs as to why these people have never found or recorded a factual event. Now I am sure they will say, as I sure they will, that they have recorded what appears to be a cat, but on closer inspection it comes out as a domestic cat. Again, these folk will say, but we have proof. If that is the case, then show and share it with us all? When you watch and listen to Frank Tunbridge on radio such as BBC Radio 4 when the reporter scoffed at him and Frank did reply that he has never trapped or caught any big cat. Again, when you listen and watch Frank on Absolute Radio's Christain O'Connell's breakfast show. The reporter's take the michael out of Frank. Shamefully, what seems to be a subject that should be debated in good fashion is being trounced, rubbished and made to look shabby all because the likes of Frank and the BCinB group seem to keep harking on, and on, and on. Those who cry wolf (in this case cat) all the time, will not be believed.

  • zooman1  |  February 22 2012, 4:45PM

    So the report on the deer carcass was shown to be from a fox and not a cat...so why is Frank Tunbridge still on his high horse saying that there dangerous and are out there? Is it not the hight of irresponsibilty? (Wikapedia) "A black panther is typically a melanistic color variant of any of several species of larger cat. Wild black panthers in Latin America are black jaguars (Panthera onca), in Asia and Africa they are black leopards (Panthera pardus), and in North America they may be black jaguars or possibly black cougars (Puma concolor – although this has not been proven to have a black variant), or smaller cats.[1][2] (Wikapedia) "Black Panthers are also reported as cryptids in areas such as the United States and the United Kingdom, and if these do exist, their species is not known. Captive black panthers may be black jaguars, or more commonly black leopards." No one who works with exotic cats will ever call one a "panther" especially one that is black. The word does itself exist such as Panthera leo, Panthera tigris, Panthera pardus. of the three the only cat to be called a "panther" would be the leopard, of which there are nine subspecies. If it was black then its a melanistic leopard, there are also black or melanistic jaguars. However, the term "Panther" is a coinage term and is used for many subspecies of cats such as the Cougar/Puma. By reading such formal reports from The IUCN The Red List of Threatened species you will find that the Panthera pardus (Leopard) is on such listings. Many people use the Dangerous Animals Act 1976, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Zoo Licence Act 1981 to substantiate their belief of such "big cats and that these cats breed and have been breeding or making hybrids. It is true that in the UK there has been many cases where small exotic cats have escaped or been found, some have indeed cross-bred. It is true that a couple of lynx have also been found. But this does not prove or mean that "big cats" are free and roaming free in the UK wilds, let alone breeding. There "may be" a big cat which "may be" or "may have" escaped from a collection or from a private owner. However, that does not mean that there are such felids out there, nor does that 2000 plus sightings mean that these cats exist or are there or anywhere. By applying common sense and the rule of Occam's Razor which says : "from among competing hypotheses, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions usually provides the correct one, and that the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false." In the case of the Stroud sightings and the Sun's coverage, also that Frank Tunbridge is no "expert". The simplist reasons applies…it was a dog"

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  • zooman1  |  February 22 2012, 4:44PM

    Mr Tunbridge said big cat attacks are extremely rare. ... So rare that its only black dogs seen! I hear that Frank is involved with Rick Minter who are currently being filmed by film maker Mark Fletcher who makes wildlife documentaries for BBC Natural World and is working on a documentary on UK feral big cats. Given that Rick Minter has within the past month released his book on the subject, is it not highly strange that these sightings have all happened since Frank plugged Minter's book, given that Minter and Tunbridge are in the Big Cats in Britain crypto group? TimMessanger I just love your url connection, it speaks loudly and the truth."

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  • cncnncncnc  |  February 22 2012, 1:07AM

    Complete and utter garbage. With so many people having mobile phones with the capability of taking relatively high resolution pictures perhaps someone can explain why we have never seen a half decent photograph of one where there is relatively little doubt as to what you are looking at. With all these so called wildlife experts why hasn't one of them managed to get a picture, a mould of a paw print, a sample of their excrement or fur which could be used to determine the species via DNA test? I'll tell you why and that is because they don't exist.

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  • rednef1  |  February 21 2012, 7:17PM

    Hey MissyMadDog, didn't you read the report the other day about a cat rescued from a roof in Stroud? Riveting, exciting, cutting edge stuff. So don't you dare complain about boring reporting!!!!!

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