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.
"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.