Big cat fears as remains of deer are found at National Trust property Woodchester Park near Stroud
TESTS are being carried out on the remains of a deer that was found at Woodchester Park amid fears it could have been killed by a big cat.
The carcass of the roe deer was found earlier this month by walkers in the grounds of the National Trust property near Stroud.
Photographs of the carcass have been sent to experts because of suspicions it had been killed by a large predator.
The injuries to the neck of the deer and the way the carcass had been consumed are thought to be highly indicative of big cat activity.
Dr Robin Allaby, associate professor at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, has visited the kill site to examine the evidence and take DNA samples from the wounds of the roe deer to be tested. These samples are now being tested with the results due by the end of the month.
David Armstrong, National Trust head ranger for the Gloucestershire countryside, said: "The deer was found close to Woodchester Park in an area where there is nice beech woodland sloping down to pastures below.
"With only one footpath, although it is popular with dog walkers, there is plenty of space for wildlife to live relatively undisturbed. There are 120 hectares of woodland nearby at Woodchester and both areas provide a good habitat for large numbers of deer, both roe and muntjac.
"There are some very occasional sightings of big cats in the Cotswolds but they have wide territories, so are rarely present in one particular spot for long. We’d be interested to hear of any more sightings at Woodchester."
Any sightings or possible evidence of big cats on National Trust land can be reported by email to email@example.com