Is this proof big cats roam Britain? Walker catches glimpse of animal that could resemble a black panther while walking in Dartmoor
- Jon spotted the creature while walking to Fernworthy Reservoir with his family
A walker is adamant he spotted a glimpse of a big cat roaming on Dartmoor and says he has the picture to prove it.
Jon and his family were walking to Fernworthy Reservoir on August 27 when they encountered the suspected wild beast with a tail ‘a metre long’.
He says he and his family were so unnerved by the sighting they quickly left the scene.
On the way back to their car Jon, in his 30s, also claims they stumbled upon a half-eaten deer carcass, adding to their fears.
Jon, from Devon, said: ‘Whatever it was, my concern was that I didn’t want it to come towards us.
‘When I first saw it, I stopped straight away and told my family ‘Don’t panic and stay where you are. I think there’s a big cat or dog up ahead’.
‘It just felt a bit surreal and quite strange that my first thought was ‘big cat’.
‘I managed to get my phone out and got a picture just in my hand before it walked along a bit and ran into the woods.
‘It had a huge tail, which must have been a metre long with some white on the end.’
Jon, who did not wish to provide his surname, initially thought it was a stray dog he’d spotted while on the family walk.
However, after watching the mystery animal move, he realised it more closely resembled a large cat and said it was ‘massive’.
He says the creature walked further up the path and over the brow of the hill after noticing his family, before stopping with just its head visible.
The family decided to turn around and walk to nearby Grey Wethers stone circle – but had to head back into the forest to get there.
This is when Jon claims they made the morbid discovery of a half-eaten deer carcass next to the path.
And while walking back to the car, he claims they heard ‘roaring’ in the distance.
Describing the ‘big cat’s’ movements, Jon said: ‘It started walking around slowly then saw me, stood there and looked at me and then started casually walking away.
‘I thought I was seeing things and remained calm as I had my dog and child with me and didn’t want to panic them.
‘I thought I was seeing a massive dog but my brain knew it wasn’t as it was so bulky at the back end and it looked very powerful and big.
‘We decided to walk back into the forest maybe a quarter of a mile further up and straight away my son said ‘what’s that?’.
‘There was a half-eaten deer carcass just off the path in the woods and in the path there were quite a few bones about four to six inches long with broken bones from a rib cage.
‘We then had to walk through thick woodland to get back to the car and while we were walking, we heard a roar. We thought we were going mad.’
Big cat ‘sightings’ have happened all over the UK – although conclusive proof of their existence has never been found.
Folklores of wild beasts roaming the countryside are often commonplace in many rural towns and villages across the country.
From the notorious Beast of Exmoor to the Demon of Dartmoor, various sightings of exotic animals have stoked suspicions that there could be a number of big cats roaming the countryside.
And in the last few years these claims have become more and more tangible thanks to an increasing amount of solid evidence.
Experts have admitted a few big cats are likely to be living wild in rural Britain. They are mostly thought to have been exotic pets which have since escaped.
Recent claims have been made about ‘leopard DNA’ being discovered in Gloucestershire.
However, a scientist said earlier this week the existence of big cats in the UK is unlikely due to the lack of sheep maulings, according to Devon Live.