Monday, 23 February 2009

Big cat leaves its 'paw print'

Dan Charles
20 February 2009
Gloucestershire Echo

A Pair of tree surgeons say they have proof that big cats do exist in Gloucestershire after a sighting in Churchdown.

John Vine and Nick Cole, both from Tewkesbury, were working on a willow tree on Monday when they saw the beast emerge from a nearby thicket.

Mr Vine said: "I was up in the tree at the time, and I looked down and saw a big black cat. I wasn't scared I was in awe.

"It was the size of a Labrador with a glossy shimmering coat, a tail as long as itself and a head similar to a domestic cat, but bigger.

"I've always been a sceptic about these kinds of things. I thought it was a load of nonsense, but there's no doubt in my mind now, there's nothing else it could have been."

The sighting was near Tudor Mead at the Highgrove Estate, in Churchdown, at around 11.30am.

And although they didn't get a photo of the elusive animal they did take a picture of the cat's paw print after it had left.

Big cat expert, Frank Tunbridge, from Podsmead, has been tracking big cats for the past 25 years.

He currently has two remote cameras set up in Stroud to catch sightings of the cats and has taken part in a number of television shows about the issue.

He said that sightings are rife at the moment.

"It is their breeding season so they will be taking more risks," he said.

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