A BIG cat expert has been told about scores of big cat sightings in the Cotswolds.
Rick Minter is currently working with the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) on a study that has found evidence to suggest that big cats are prowling the English Countryside.
Whilst showcasing big cat research at the Cotswold Show last month, he was told about 24 sightings.
Mr Minter said many of the sightings occured in north Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
“Some of the reports were recent, some went back several years,” he said.
He added that he could not reveal the exact locations of the sightings as he believes big cat enthusiast may flock to them and anger landowners who do not appreciate such attention.
As part of the big cat study, which is being led by Dr Andrew Hemmings, a senior lecturer in equine science at the RAU, the skeletal remains of mutilated deer and sheep has been examined.
Last year the study found evidence to suggest that big cats were responsible for the death of three of the animals. Big cat teeth marks were found on the bones of the livestock.
Mr Minter has spent the summer visiting country shows, where he has recorded big cat sightings from people visiting his stall.
This data boosts Dr Hemming’s project as it helps identify hot spot areas, where camera traps, can be set up.
As part of the project, camera traps have already been set up in various regional locations, where there have been big cat sightings.
Data from the cameras is then assessed to see if the big cats have been captured.
Any animal remains found in the area near where the cameras are set up will then be assessed by Dr Hemmings to see if he can uncover further evidence that big cats were responsible for their deaths.
Mr Minter added: “If you are proactive then you will get information. It is all about making contacts. People are really appreciative of what we are doing and people want to help.”
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