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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Has 'Beast of Bodmin' mystery been solved ?

By T.K. Randall
July 24, 2016 · Comment icon 13 comments

There have been many sightings of pumas in the UK. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Adrian Herridge
A zoo owner has come forward with information that could help to explain the alien big cat phenomenon.
For years there have been reports of exotic cats roaming the British countryside and now the current owner of Dartmoor Zoo believes that he may have an explanation.

Benjamin Mee, who is himself currently searching for an escaped lynx called Flaviu, claims that several sources point to the release of three pumas from the zoo after it closed in 1978.

The story goes that circus owner Mary Chipperfield had been transporting five pumas after her zoo was forced to close and that, rather than taking them all to their new home, she released three of them - including a breeding pair - in to the wild.
"Puma were released in the Sparkwell area in the 1980s and there were many sightings of puma in this area up until 2010," said Mee. "I even saw one when I first came here in 2006. They used to come out into the village. I saw one by a crossing."

The story remains difficult to corroborate and while it doesn't directly explain accounts of other types of exotic cats such as panthers in the UK, it could certainly help to explain sightings of pumas.

"The farmers don't want the publicity and wouldn't tell you this if you asked but there were a lot of animals lost to the pumas during those years," said Mee.

"I think two whole generations of pumas managed to live on the moor until the winter of 2010."

Source: AOL News | Comments (13)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by rashore 8 years ago
Actually, pumas and mountain lions are felis concolor, with the Florida Panther being a subspecies of puma concolor. Black panthers are of a different feline species, Panthera pardus or Panthera onca, being jaguars or leopards with black coloring. Now, while there are lots of panthers pardus and panthera onca displaying melanism, and is what we commonly call black panthers, there haven't been any  felis concolor or puma concolor documented displaying melanism. So panthers that are just black are not pumas/mountain lions, they are a different species. Though some people do use the tern panther... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Child of Bast 8 years ago
Okay for her to have them in her zoo, but not for anyone else? Shame on her.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
"The farmers don't want the publicity and wouldn't tell you this if you asked but there were a lot of animals lost to the pumas during those years," said Mee.  That makes no sense ... 
Comment icon #7 Posted by danielost 8 years ago
here is a link with animal names and photos if you follow the links.  you will note that there two couger listings links go the same photos.  then look under p you will note there is only the puma the link also goes the same site.  if look further there is no panther.  a panther is the black color of another cat.  just in I looked up jaguar.
Comment icon #8 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
It's a nice story, but really, it is just a story. Where are the records that five were shipped and two received? Where is the lady who released them? Without evidence, this story is as valid as the other stories of how a puma could have gotten there. 
Comment icon #9 Posted by skookum 8 years ago
Farmers avoid the subject and will put kills down to dog attacks which to be honest a majority are.  What farmers don't want is hoards of journalists and investigators walking through their fields disturbing their live stock even further. After a possible big cat experience myself about 6 years ago I got to talk to a local farmer who told me quite a bit but only if I promised not to post it or pass on to the investigating groups.  
Comment icon #10 Posted by Cryptozoology1Fan 8 years ago
I live in the UK and always had the feeling that the Beast Of Bodmin was a released Puma or other big cat. I'm glad to hear the news that it's finally been solved,I'm just hoping that they are left to survive without bogus reports of attacks on farm stock or pets that result in a kill hunt. If they've been there since the 80's like said then they are doing well and should be left alone.
Comment icon #11 Posted by fightzone 8 years ago
im a florida resident. i am very familiar with cougars/pumas. the sound they make when they go in heat can be heard for miles. if cougars were breeding anywhere near civilization you would hear them. a cougars life expectancy is 12 years. maybe 25 in captivity. no chance they were released in 1980 and are still alive
Comment icon #12 Posted by oldrover 8 years ago
The article isn't really a solution to this. I'm very sceptical about the idea of UK big cats, but not entirely closed minded to the early reports. This 'Mirror' article though isn't concrete, it isn't even particularly compelling.  It's likely we'll never know for sure whether any big cats were ever really released into the British countryside. 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Finity 8 years ago
Well, only very recently a Lynx escape from a zoo and so far has not been found. So it does happen. ( So if there were no "big" cats on Dartmoor before, there are now Once they get in to the British countryside, it's a needle in a haystack. The fact it's always high humidity here means everything gets over-grown very quickly during the summer and it gets very dense. It's easy for them to hide. They are actually considering re-introducing Lynx in to the wild here anyway though. Like they have already with Red Kites and Buzzards.

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