This is the extraordinary headline (or words to that effect) in the Daily Star online newspaper. Black panthers are big cats. They are usually melanistic jaguars or leopards. Therefore, the headline suggests that there are a large number of very dangerous big cats wandering around the countryside and suburbia of the UK terrifying residents and killing livestock at will!
This is certainly not the case. All of these sightings are black domestic cats wandering across fields. If they weren’t wandering domestic cats than surely by now we would know about it? Something would have happened. Somebody would have been hurt. We would have a decent photograph by now. There would be decent evidence rather than a very vague sighting and the very poor photograph.
However, the Daily Star says that experts say that there are at least 150 black panthers roaming around the streets of Great Britain.
One of the experts, a cryptozoologist, Jonathan Dowes, 57, has been tracking these wild beasts for decades.
He says that there are dozens of pumas, panthers, lynx and other wild cats roaming the UK. We are told that a woman, Emma Adam, was scared out of her wits and paralysed with fear when she came face-to-face with a black panther this week. The sighting was in Leicestershire. Jonathan believes that her sighting is just the tip of the iceberg.
Jonathan believes that the warm weather may result in more face-to-face encounters with these mysterious big cats of Britain! People should stay well clear says!
“Do not try and approach it or do anything stupid.”
This expert believes that most of these large cats are descendants of privately kept big cats released in the late 70s and the early 80s when the UK government created regulations on keeping big cats.
But he believes that the population is growing because they are breeding in the wild. Apparently, the police in the UK have logged 455 sightings of large wild cats in the UK between 2010 and 2015.
Emma’s sighting took place in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Another woman, Catherine Davies, 46, reported to the Daily Star that she saw two large beasts prowling around her flat near Swansea two weeks ago.
The newspaper reports that Norfolk has the most reported sightings; 57 have been reported in the county. In Cornwall and Devon there have been 28 sightings. There have been reports of farm animals being killed by these big cats.
You can see that I am extremely sceptical about the sightings. Yes, there are indeed many sightings and from time to time the newspapers report on them because news has dried up. But after all these years there is still a dearth of decent evidence which of itself tells us that these cats do not exist. People have a fascination with large mysterious beasts. I think it originates in our fear of them so we start imagining them. Our fears are projected onto the landscape and onto innocent black domestic cats minding their own business.
This fear originates from a time, eons ago, when homo sapiens really had to contend with dangerous beasts and kill them to survive. It is in our DNA.