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Friday, 20 February 2009

Big cat sighting

A puma has been sighted at Hewish, Bradford Abbas, confirming the big cat is indeed roaming across the Dorset countryside once more. The light coloured puma, now an adult, has the characteristics of the cub reported by a farmer at Newton, Sturminster Newton, which was spotted with its parents, a black male and a lighter female, shortly before the foot and mouth outbreak.

Judy Nash collated the many reports that followed the BVM story and entered them on the national databases. The following year the young adult was spotted again in the Yetminster area seeking out its own territory. However, after that time, sightings of big cats became fewer which was thought to be the result of a change in farming practices.

In 2008 many sightings were reported across a large area of the west with a cluster in Gloucestershire and more than 40 reports in Wales. The recent cold snap may have forced the animals further from cover in search of food and the first few weeks of 2009 led to a fresh spate of reports.

Big cats, mostly pumas, have been reported locally at Maiden Newton, Halstock, Sutton Bingham, Ryme Intrinseca, Yetminster, Thornford, Bradford Abbas, Trent and the Comptons over the last decade with other regular sightings at Wareham Forest, Bulbarrow, Broadwindsor, Bridport, Abbotsbury, Melplash and Weymouth.

Further information can be found and sightings recorded at www.bigcatsightings.com , www.bigcatmonitors.co.ul, www.bigcatsgb.co.uk and www.britishbigcats.org or forward information to judy@nashphotography.co.uk

Source: Western Gazette February 20th, 2009

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