Yorkshire produced the highest number of reports - 64 - almost double those of the runner-up, Devon, with 38. Somerset had 37 and Leicestershire almost as many with 36, while Gloucestershire and Wiltshire had 31 reported sightings apiece.
In Scotland Fife and Aberdeenshire topped the league with 36 sightings between them, though Wales had a quiet year with only six and four reports coming from Glamorgan and Denbighshire respectively. Co. Monaghan in Northern Ireland again had a spate of sightings - six reported, and there were three from northern counties of the Republic of Ireland, Donegal and Sligo. In short there were 675 apparent sightings logged in 2007, but behind this statistic are 675 witnesses, each - in their own words - 'shocked' or 'stunned', amazed, interested or curious enough to tell someone of their experience. Behind them again are hundreds more witnesses who have not mentioned their glimpse of a big cat to anyone, whether out of fear of being disbelieved or simply because they do not know who to tell. Mark Fraser's national research network, Big Cats In Britain or BCIB has been providing that service for many years, each sighting being acknowledged, logged, published on the members' area of the website, and if necessary followed up by a local member. BCIB members are a diverse bunch, firmly bonded by their fascination with the mystery of Britain's many panther, puma or lynx-like big cats, and their determination to find out more about their nature and provenance. Some have added their thoughts on and theories about these knotty questions to this volume, along with other writers who reflect on their own experience of seeing a big cat or describe their local reports.
In short this is the most indispensable guide to latest sightings and developments in research into the most strange and secret denizens of our landscape. I defy anyone to read it and not find - the next time they go for a walk - their view of the countryside,the home we share with these elusive creatures, subtly changed.
(Extract from the Forward by Merrily Harpur, January 2008.)
The Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 is published by CFZ Press price £12.50
The Big Cats in Britain Yearbook 2008 Review by Nick Redfern
Big Cats in Britain Website: Includes sightings, news, reports, articles, and video footage from around the country.
The Dorset Big Cats Register is a forum for reading about and reporting sightings of these creatures compiled by Dorset researcher Merrily Harpur .