EP:33 Black leopards – spotting the difference from Essex to Exmoor Zoo

Our first guest Paul watched a black panther in Essex for 15 minutes in August, struggling to take photos at dusk – we then visit Exmoor Zoo’s black leopards, and hear why local police sometimes ask if they’ve escaped. 

Words of the week:   chuffing and prusten

18 September 2020 

EP:32 Fact into fiction – a big cat novel & a panther play

In our first half David Anthony Starkey explains how glimpsing a big cat in south Wales led to his new novel about British black panthers – in the second half we feature Red in Tooth and Claw, a play about big cats in Britain by Simon Bovey, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4.  

Words of the week: art represents reality

2 September 2020 

EP:31 Bodmin & Exmoor Beasts – the inside stories

We speak to Lord Tyler who called for the 1995 government study on potential big cats in the Bodmin area, and to Eric Ley about sheep predation on his Exmoor farm in 1983 and the community’s response, which started the Exmoor Beast legend. 

Word of the week:  cat nip

20 August 2020

EP:30 The angry leopard – a close call on Anglesey

Our guest Josh disturbed a large feline shape in the dark on a break in Anglesey – it made angry calls and stalked him as he returned home with his dog.  He later observed the speed and power of the animal…

Word of the week:  Tapetum lucidum

6 August 2020

EP:29 Devon panthers – quirks & confrontations

Our first guest John witnessed a “freckled” black panther in north Devon in June 2020, suggesting inbreeding in the cat, while our second guest Dan was confronted by a panther on Dartmoor whilst on his Navy night-watch training. 

Dan and Rick also discuss folklore associated with Britain’s big cat sightings.  

Words of the week:  vitiligo  and  tulpa

24 July 2020

EP:28 Stalking – two can play

Our first guest Richard once shot a medium-large sized cat in southern England but wants to film a big cat now, while our second guest Andrew and his dogs were followed by a panther by the river Severn in May 2020 – local investigator Paul Ramsden discusses this case on location with Andrew.  

Word of the week:  stalking

9 July 2020 

EP:27 Tree-top predator & New Zealand panthers

Béa our guest from Dorset was shocked by a large cat high in a tree – she rushed for a camera as it leapt from branch to branch, and we also hear from Scott Bainbridge about New Zealand big cat sightings.

Word of the Week:   arboreal

27 June 2020

EP:26 The dog-watching leopards

Angela describes her close encounters with black leopards when dog-walking in Somerset, and we also hear Clare Balding’s surprise sighting of a panther in Herefordshire in 2014, recorded on BBC Radio 4. 

Word of the week:  pareidolia 

12 June 2020

EP:25 Power animals in lockdown

Wendy explains her puma and jaguar encounters in Columbia and checking for puma tracks in Cornwall – she recounts her former zoo work and her experience on deeper connections with owls, bears and big cats.

We also hear from Gloucestershire’s Frank Tunbridge about recent local big cat reports and his thoughts on the influence of lockdown on wildlife and big cats.

Word of the week:   cursorial

28 May 2020

EP: 24 Horse sense – predator in the paddock

We discuss big cats and horses with horse trainer Richard – he has seen a black panther in Warwickshire and a puma in California, while our second guest Rachel describes the impacts of a large cat attack on her horse in Herefordshire.

Word of the week:  catamount

14 May 2020