Nothing new in big cat sightings

ON a recent visit to Huntingdon to see old friends I read a copy of The Hunts Post. The debate about big cats in and around Huntingdon has for many years been a topic of conversation, in which I have joined in as a sceptic. My scepticism was due to the fa

ON a recent visit to Huntingdon to see old friends I read a copy of The Hunts Post.

The debate about big cats in and around Huntingdon has for many years been a topic of conversation, in which I have joined in as a sceptic.

My scepticism was due to the fact that, as a very keen angler, I have been in a position to view wildlife in ways not normally available to others, often first thing in the morning or failing evening light, sitting quietly and reasonably well hidden.

I had never seen a big cat, though I have sat and watched badgers, deer, otters, and even watched a fox steal a boot from the door of my tent, but despite the amount of hours by the river I had never seen any signs of the fabled cats.


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That was until two friends and I sat and watched a big cat for between 10 and 15 minutes, not a sketchy report of something big disappearing into a hedgerow or trees. We watched this cat walk along a fence. We discussed its dark colour and judged its size by the distance between the posts: we later paced out the distance and it was over 25feet, the cat filling a little less than a quarter of the distance, including its tail. We watched the cat go under the fence several times before it disappeared. It did not run away in fright: it was up wind of us and therefore couldn't scent us.

This was in mid to late august 2002 in the early evening. The cat was observed just outside the Offords. We were fishing at the entrance to the marina, looking towards the railway.

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I have been lucky enough to have travelled widely in my life and have seen big cats in their natural environments in Africa and South America. I can promise your readers that they are around Cambridgeshire, if a little shy at this time.

DUNCAN PAUL

The yacht Sinbad

Between the Azores and Southampton

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