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Nature & Environment

DNA test confirms presence of an exotic big cat in British countryside

By T.K. Randall
May 20, 2024 · Comment icon 40 comments

An alleged big cat sighting reportedly filmed in the UK. Image Credit: Dragonfly Films
The new evidence would seem to put to bed the notion that claims of big cats roaming the British Isles are false.
Reports of large predatory cats such as panthers have persisted across the UK for years.

While it has long been suspected that a population of these animals has been roaming the British countryside, conclusive evidence of their existence there has remained stubbornly thin on the ground.

Now, though, new evidence analyzed by Prof Robin Allaby at the University of Warwick would seem to offer confirmation that there really is at least one large predatory cat loose in the UK.

The sample in question was taken from a sheep carcass after a woman unexpectedly disturbed a large animal that had been feeding on it back in October.
"I assumed at first it was a sheepdog, but then I did a double take and realized it was a black cat," she said. "It was big - the size of a German shepherd dog."

The subsequent DNA analysis has since suggested that the culprit was in fact a leopard.

"It makes me a convert [to the existence of exotic big cats in the UK]," said Prof Allaby.

"Until now, I have remained open-minded, I think that's my job as a scientist."

Exactly how many of these cats there are in the country, however, remains unclear.

Source: Discover Wildlife | Comments (40)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #31 Posted by the13bats 22 days ago
Um. No but you look ridiculous still grasping for a got cha that didn't happen, keep trying maybe someday you will prove a claim.
Comment icon #32 Posted by the13bats 22 days ago
Yeah. Both zoos and private owners loose or even toss out pets, sad but happens.
Comment icon #33 Posted by the13bats 22 days ago
Well sure, a lot of the story doesn't add up hence why I asked about chain of evidence, the DNA lab presenting results for peer review etc, unlike credious believers wanting to knee jerk to lame childish "told you so" I'm patient and would like more details, but like I said it might be a step in the right direction I for one figured there could very well be big cats out there. Correct about inbreeding why zoos trade animals to prevent it best they can, and I can't recall the member perhaps toad who worked up how much a Bigfoot if real would need to eat I'm hoping someone who does numbers bette... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by Alchopwn 21 days ago
So...  Apparently there's another cryptid that does actually exist huh?  What about the ones we have no genetic information for tho?  Remember what happened with platypuses?  How about gorillas?  Gorillas obviously don't exist until scientists admit they are wrong.  So many dogmatic skeptics have Panzaism.
Comment icon #35 Posted by the13bats 21 days ago
Why are believers so deeply butthurt that have to keep reaching and grasping, this one DNA example might prove one big cat was out there it doesn't prove a breeding pop like we have with gorillas and platypuses which we can go watch in the wild , we can't do that with big cats in the UK if we could then there wouldn't be any questions. DNA is just a step to proof. We need a body.
Comment icon #36 Posted by joc 21 days ago
Big cats like...uh...panthers have large territories...200 square miles.  But yeah, people see something and they don't really know...but their minds just go cat!  Labs at a distance look just like big cats. We need a body!
Comment icon #37 Posted by the13bats 21 days ago
Yeah, there's an old thread on here the believers said it was big cat proof but it was a black lab,  people sometimes see what they want to see,  there very well might be big cats running around UK countryside but it's a leap to claim a breeding pop, I would think there would be more reports, more kills
Comment icon #38 Posted by joc 21 days ago
and at least some pictures... This picture is definitely a big black cat...but it is from a film 'reportedly' made in the UK.  Was it?  By whom?  We just don't know.
Comment icon #39 Posted by the13bats 21 days ago
Right. What hits me in this story is this big cat was eating a sheep and someone got DNA but the change of evidence isn't very strong, who found it? Who gathered DNA? What lab tested it? Was results punished for peer review? big cat pic The pic is dubious but no one claims it's the cat which the DNA came from and there is zero proof that cat pic is even in the UK Is the guy who got the DNA sample involved in the documentary about big cats in UK?
Comment icon #40 Posted by Amanda Evans 20 days ago
I live in UK. Last year I was on on a train in Southern England, Kent/Sussex Border going through the lovely countryside. I was idly looking at the fields passing, when I saw something in the field that looked to me like a lion! It was sitting down and very large. I was shocked, but the train carried on, too quick for me to even get my phone out. I passed by the same field going the other way a bit later. Nothing in the field of course. Was it a lion? Who knows. It could have been a small golden coloured cow. Or a deer. It was certainly an animal as there was nothing in the field on the return... [More]

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