Wednesday 21 October 2009

Big Cat Sightings in Cambridgeshire

There was a spate of big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire in September. Here are some of the newspaper reports:

Fen tiger sighting in Grafham 23/09/2009.

A COUPLE on a camping holiday in Grafham have told how they had the shock of their life when they spotted a puma walking towards them. Steven Armstrong, 53, said he was enjoying a walk with his wife around Grafham Water on Saturday, September 12 at 5.30pm when he spotted a big cat. The animal was making its way along Church Road towards the couple. Mr Armstrong told The Hunts Post: "It was about 50 yards away.

"It was walking down the road as bold as punch. It did not seem to react to us or even seem bothered by us." The couple, who were staying at Grafham Water Caravan Club in Church Road, said it was definitely a big cat and it ran off as a car approached. Mr Armstrong added: "I've never seen anything like it before. "There is no doubt in my mind that it was a big cat. It looked like a large sandy coloured Labrador but it moved like a cat, swinging its tail up in the air behind it. "It was definitely not a dog - it looked similar to a puma or a young lion." A spokesman at the caravan club said, apart from this big cat sighting, she was unaware of any others.Mr Armstrong, who is a college lecturer from Halifax, said the sighting would not put him off coming back to the area. He said: "We were excited about the sighting and feel privileged to have seen this amazing animal. "I'm sure we could come back here for the next 20 years and probably never see it again."

Huntingdonshire is no stranger to big cats sightings - especially of the so-called Fen Tiger, which has been reported in Graveley, St Ives, Papworth, Alconbury and Yelling.

However, the Armstrongs said they were unaware of the previous reports until they returned home and found articles publish on The Hunts Post's website. Back in May golfer Eddie Smith reported seeing a puma run past him on the 11th fairway at Abbotsley Golf Course. At the time the 62-year-old of Bell Lane, Fenstanton said the animal was about the size of a Labrador.Mr Armstrong said: "I was gobsmacked when I read the article, as the golfer confirmed everything I had seen. "I'm not bothered if people believe me or not, I know what I saw."

INFORMATION: Have you got a picture or video of the Huntingdonshire big cat? If so, e-mail or phone 01480 411481 and ask to speak to the newsroom.

Fresh big cat sightings in Hunts 30/09/2009

ANOTHER mysterious 'big cat' sighting in Grafham has led to apprehension that there is more than one of the animals roaming around west Huntingdonshire. Keith Gowen, of Inhams Way, contacted The Hunts Post after he spotted what he believed to be a puma from his bedroom window on September 2 at 5.15pm. He said the animal was walking close to the village's football pitch in the direction of Van Diemens Way. Concerned for the safety of a group of children playing cricket nearby, Mr Gowan phoned the police.
The 65-year-old retired IT manager, who worked for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "You expect to see foxes but not a puma. "The question must be asked on how safe are we in Grafham if this big cat is choosing to roam down the roads rather than the fields which circle the village" Last week The Hunts Post reported how Steven Armstrong, a 53-year-old college lecturer from Halifax, had seen a big cat in Church Road, Grafham. Both men described the animal as being a large sandy coloured Labrador that had a tail like a cat. Just down the road - in Easton - an image of a 'small wild cat' was captured on a camera phone. This has led to speculation that the cats are breeding in the area. Jennifer Hyde, of The Lane, snapped what she believed was a young 'big cat' in a field behind her house at 3.40pm on Saturday (September 26). She said: "I estimate it must have been about 24in high at the shoulder. "There have been so many documented sightings of this animal that it must surely be breeding in the area. Perhaps this was a young one. "It had some white markings at the back of its legs and stripes round the tail."
Mrs Hyde, who is retired and has lived in Easton for 24 years, said her main concern was that there is another predator with its eye on her chickens. Although some people say the 'big cat' or Fenland Tiger is a myth, Cambridgeshire police take sightings seriously.
Pc Paul Carter of the rural community action team said the majority of sightings have been west of the A1 corridor from Sawtry to the Northamptonshire border.
Between September 1, 2008 and Tuesday (Wednesday 29) Cambridgeshire police had received 121 reports of big cat sightings. Pc Carter said: "As these sightings are coming from all over the county it would suggest there is more than one big cat in the area and there are different types of them at various ages." He added that people should not feel apprehensive as there had been no reports of any attacks.

Article with video of the police officer mapping the big cat sightings:

There is a zoo and a wildlife park in Cambridgeshire….I wonder if they are missing anything?

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