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Panther-like creature seen stalking chickens near Stroud

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

Lorna Watson

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WHEN a black panther-like creature slinked across in front of her, Lorna Watson could not believe her eyes at first.

And now neither does she believe that it was anything else other than a big cat roaming the Five Valleys.

"It had to be a panther or something similar," said Lorna, 51, who saw the creature not far from her Brimscombe Port, Stroud home on the banks of the River Frome at 9am on Wednesday, January 16.

"I was just enjoying the quiet stillness of the morning and I saw something black, about the size of a Labrador.

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"I could not believe it at first – it had a small head, and a long tail, and was walking like it was stalking something.

"There were chickens nearby and I thought maybe it was looking for something to eat."

By the time she had reached for her camera phone, the animal had vanished in to bushes.

She is adamant she saw a big cat and wants to return to try and see it again.

"It looked like a black panther," she said.

Her sighting is not far from several others, including the spot where Stroud mum Coryn Memory captured video footage of what could be a big cat in a field near her home.

One year ago, sightings in the Five Valleys were coming in thick and fast after deer remains found in Woodchester and Dursley were sent for DNA testing.

Academics said there was no sign of cat DNA however.

Big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge told The Citizen at Christmas he was expecting a rash of sightings in January as wild food hits a yearly low.

He said it was possible the animal was looking at the chickens.

"Food is more scarce at this time of year and they will take more chances to get it," he said.

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  • FreeRadical1  |  January 25 2013, 5:43PM

    How very odd that none of these huge black cats have been seen out in the white snow. Also, why has no-one reported footprints? This has been the best time to see the beasts, if they exist in Gloucestershire. I'm not saying that there are absolutely no big cats in the wild anywhere in Britain, but I can't see that there would be a breeding population without some good, clear evidence - photographs, videos, DNA. Where do they go when they die? It's not as if they have holes to hide in like badgers.

  • Seenone  |  January 25 2013, 2:05PM

    Sightings of Black Leopards are the most prolific. These big cats are solitary and elusive predators, with perfect camoufalge at night. I'm lucky, or should I say unlucky enough to have seen one here on the hunt. It was a terrifying experience and something i'll never ever forget, as I ended up as it's intended prey! As a keen angler, i've spent quite a lot of my 53 years in the countryside, and have never mistaken a Fox for a Grizzly Bear. I've owned many domestic cats, and also dogs of different breeds and sizes. I'm a professional person, like many others that've seen these cats. When I sighted the Cat that had been stalking me, it was poised on its back leg's in full moonlight approximately 60 feet from me, and about to jump into a treeline along the edge of a field, giving me a good opportunity to gauge it's height if stood upright. I estimate that it would've stood at somewhere around 7 - 8 feet if upright, as i'm 6 feet tall. I wouldn't pay too much heed to the so-called experts, that say these cats won't hunt people either. These predators are opportunistic hunters, if they're hungry and the chance of a meal presents itself, they'll take it! As for the no breeding population? A BlaCK Leopard's lifespan is approximately 12 - 15 years in the wild. The Cat that stalked me in 2009 hadn't escaped from a Zoo, Circus etc, and if it was one that had been released in the mid 70s, this would've put it's age at around 33 years? Some of you may wish to continue to laugh and mock those that've seen these animals, or those that're trying to prove they're here. But I for one am abosulutely certain, it won't be too long now before clear video evidence is captured of what I already know to be fact, and Humble Pie will be on the menu for many! I imagine Frank Tunbridge will be grinning like a Cheshire Cat, whilst the anonymous "Mockers" eat their pie's! Alvin Toulson

  • Toast77  |  January 19 2013, 8:40AM

    "And now neither does she believe that it was anything else other than a big cat..." What kind of tortured, primary-school-type English is this? :-(

  • Matt1006  |  January 18 2013, 2:59PM

    Which occurs more often? Big cat sightings in Gloucestershire, or Katie Price's latest nuptials...??? Close call, I think. Given the fact that everywhere is currently bright white, a big cat should be even easier to spot. Unless of course it's a snow leopard.....

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  • rtruth  |  January 18 2013, 2:04PM

    A puma like creature.... a cat then

  • Apothegm_  |  January 18 2013, 12:29PM

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Frank Tunbridge might be dressing up as a Big Cat and lurking in appropriately-chosen bushes, so that there can be a 'rash of sightings in January' of him/it?

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  • IsitJimKerr  |  January 18 2013, 10:53AM

    Hubert1841.............................too late, he'll be priming his hapless cameras as we speak!!!

  • Hubert1841  |  January 18 2013, 10:31AM

    No, nobody tell Frank, for God's sake!

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