big cat research in Sussex


Possible wild cat nr Crowborough

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM
29th of august around midnight,a vehicle driving past Herons Gyll near Crowborough and 2 witnesses reported to this website seeing what they could only describe as a large wild cat closely resembling a Scottish wild cat. Much larger than a domestic of a tabby colour they described seeing a clubby tail with distinctive black stripes just like a Scottish wild cat however they could make out a white tip on the tail. I have been reliably informed by members of the Scottish wild cat society that numbers of these cats are dangerously dwindling to less than 300 and only in their heartlands of Scotland, this is due, in part, to breeding with domestic in origin cats and it is beyond the realms of possibility for A Scottish wild cat to be wandering around in Sussex but where have we heard that before?! Although it is entirely possible that the witnesses did see an over large domestic on the prowl the sighting is interesting as it`s in an area where exceedingly large wild/feral/cross-bred cats of all sorts of different shapes have been reported over a very long period of time. Multiple witnesses have described seeing cats that in no way could of been able to fit through a standard cat flap. One of the most interesting was near Mayfield in February 2012 when a witness described seeing a cat larger than a fox of a sandy colour with white stripes and a long tail eating what appeared to be a small animal or bird on the ground. I investigated the report at the time and did indeed find some rabbit fur where the witness said they had saw it but not much else. On the way back to the vehicle another witness told me about seeing a similarly described cat only much closer and said it was not like any cat they had seen before and having worked at the cat centre on the Ashdown forest had certainly come across most breeds of cat. Truly feral cats domestic in origin are quite common in Sussex and in certain areas one or two can appear huge, a couple of years ago a trail camera I had set up in a feral hot spot produced clear pictures of a sandy cat with a thick rudder-like tail of the size of a vixen, having blogged the pictures a forestry worker got in contact and said he had a seen a similar sized and looking cat with 2 kittens so a much larger tom cat perhaps would of been around. The species origin of the usually reported to this website big cats is still very much up for debate seeing as DNA evidence is still maddingly not available. If and this is a very big if, the species turns out to be domestic in origin and not leopard then these over large feral/wild cats could well prove to be the logical missing link...

Categories: Sightings

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