Big cat spotted in Warboys

A puma sighting has been reported in Warboys.

A puma sighting has been reported in Warboys. - Credit: Archant

There’s the Beast of Bodmin, the Essex Lion and now it seems there may even be a Wild Cat of Warboys.

Driving past Swannells Haulage on the A141 from Huntingdon on Saturday (June 13), 72-year-old Peter Ireland says he is positive he saw a large black puma.

He told The Hunts Post: “I know a puma when I see one. I have been game hunting in Australia and Estonia so I know what a big cat looks like.

“It had grey flecks in its coat and was bigger than a Labrador. It just trotted calmly in front of my car. I was just 20 yards away. If it had been any closer, I would have hit it.

“I can’t believe I’m the only person to have seen this cat. Other people, farmers and the like, must have seen it before. I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t seen it will believe me, but I can tell you it was a puma I saw.”

It was around 8am when Mr Ireland, who has been a big game hunter for most of his adult life, made the sighting.

He was on his way from Swaffham in Norfolk where he lives, to visit his wife who was with a sick relative in St Ives.

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And he added: “I didn’t call the police because I didn’t think they would believe me and what would they do anyway?”

Mr Ireland is convinced others in the area will also have seen the cat.

But Rosa King, who is the head carnivore keeper at Hamerton Zoo, thinks it is unlikely there is a big cat on the loose.

Most pumas, she says, are brown and the melanistic – all black – variety are extremely rare.

She has more than 11 years’ experience of working with big cats and does not think one would survive on its own for long in the British countryside.

And she added: “Most black pumas are housed in private collections with a licence because they are so rare. In my opinion I don’t think there would be a black puma roaming about.

“It’s far more likely to have been a large domestic cat, which, under the right light and conditions might look like a puma.”

Have you seen the Wild Cat of Warboys? Email