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EP:86 Cougar close encounters – from Canada to Devon

Rob explains his boyhood interest in the Exmoor Beast and roaming local woods for signs of big cats. Now living in British Canada, Rob encounters different wild animals on his regular mountain hikes. He describes his recent close observation of a dark coloured Canadian lynx, and his family’s confrontation with a growling stalking cougar. 

Rob explains why he carries protective bear spray and knives in his rucksack after seeing black bears close to his hiking trails, and he discusses how local people adapt to living alongside cougars and bears.

Rob finishes by commenting on recent night-vision footage taken in Devon and available to view on the Big Cat Conversations website, Refs & Links page for episode 86. 

Word of the week:   slesse  

21 November 2022

EP:85 The policemen, the dog & the panthers – Warwickshire big cats recalled

Bob received big cat reports in the 1990s during his career with Warwickshire police – it became more real on duty one night when he saw a black panther himself. 

John our second guest also served with Warwickshire police – he investigated a crashed car incident one night in 2003 when his police dog Russ let him know there was something about, as a panther emerged on the scene…

John discusses his experience working with dogs in the police and currently with Cornwall Search Dogs, and he and Rick consider how dogs could be deployed for tracking big cats. 

Words of the week:   scat detection dogs

3 November 2022

EP:84 The wall-walker – filming a foraging panther

Don saw a black panther or leopard in Derbyshire in 1989 at a time when local farmers and police were reporting sightings of a big black cat in the Derbyshire press.  

Don retained his interest in the topic and brought a thermal camera in 2022 to film local wildlife and hopefully a big cat. Within a few weeks he noticed one of the blobs on his thermal footage was cat shaped, and larger than any foxes and badgers he had filmed. Seeing the shape again Don concluded he was indeed filming a large cat. It is judged to be around 109 cms from nose to rump.   

Don discusses the thermal footage on this episode. A selection of the video recordings and stills taken from the videos are on the Big Cat Conversations website, under ep 84 of the Refs & Links page.     

Word of the week:   monopod

13 October 2022

EP:83 Big cat nature ramble – Cotswold hide outs

We join investigator Paul Ramsden for a visit to two big cat sighting spots in Gloucestershire. We look out along the edge of the Cotswold hills and then go deep into a hidden valley woodland. 

Paul explains how mammals including big cats would use the woodland and he considers prime places for trail cameras for filming any large cats. Rick describes past panther, puma and lynx reports in the area and Paul recounts his own past big cat sighting that happened in Dorset.

Words of the week:   a glaring of cats  

28 September 2002 

EP:82 A face-off at dusk – confronting a west country leopard

Clare met a black leopard watching her from a ditch in a Somerset lane back in 1993. Her family’s dogs and horses had been spooked at the time, sensing a possible predator nearby.

In a wide-ranging discussion including the wonders of the Zanzibar leopard and the search for the supposedly lost Thylacine, Clare discusses her experience working with leopards, puma and lynx at a zoo, and lessons she learnt about the traits of these cats for their behaviour in the wild in Britain. 

Words of the week:   electromagnetic shielding  

14 September 2022

EP:81 Welsh big cat tour – north to south

Darren Millar the Welsh Parliament Member for Clwyd West believes the Welsh Government should be researching big cats – we hear from Darren at the Denbigh and Flint Show in August 2022. We then hear from Carla who witnessed a black cat as big as her labrador dog in mid Wales in early August – when she returned to the spot the next day she was hissed at and fled the scene. 

Finally we hear from Michelle – she drove past a big cat’s body over 20 years ago and had a black panther sighting near Carmarthen in south west Wales in 2007.

Words of the week:   Magnus cattus 

29 August 2022

EP:80 Kent’s large carnivores – a sleepy village life

Charlie watched a lynx sunning itself at the edge of his village in Kent, then two years later he had a close encounter with a puma on the other side of the village. 

Charlie compares the wild Kent puma with one he witnessed in Alberta, Canada, and one he studied at a big cat sanctuary. 

Charlie also discusses how he is naturally fearful of panthers due to the black colour, but he explains why the most dangerous local animal he’s encountered is a deer.   

Word of the week:   Klandagi       

8 August 2022

EP:79 Secret South Wales panthers

Kayleigh our first guest was driving when she and her dog both reacted to a large black panther in front of the car near forestry land in south west Wales in March 2022. Kayleigh feels that large black cats are now quietly accepted as part of the South Wales environment in some remote areas.  

Our second guest Adam was walking in the Rhonda area in south Wales with a friend in winter 2022 – they noticed a large black panther run down a track and make two attempts at sheep as it got disturbed. Although his friends scoff at the report, Adam is keen to understand more about the hidden big cats of South Wales.      

Word of the week:   phenomenon

19 July 2022

EP:78 Big cats amongst the treasure

Chris is a metal detectorist in North Wiltshire – he has had 3 big cat encounters including a puma descending a tree and warning him. We hear from an experienced detectorists as he explains highlights of his recent finds, including close views of three different big cats, and deer carcasses which have been examined for tooth pits…

Word of the week:    Cat-tecting

4 July 2022

EP:77 Too close for comfort?

Our first guest Martin describes seeing a black panther move towards his son who was cycling in front of him and unaware of the animal. In terms of public awareness, Martin is concerned at the fear that any big cat information signs could create.

Our second guest John had a lynx come close to him in a Surrey woodland – he explains how he remained calm and avoided a possible confrontation. Earlier this year, close to the first sighting location, he saw a smaller lynx which bounded off, keeping away. John compares the two cats’ different behaviours and in discussing his close encounter, he is keen to avoid any alarmism.   

Word of the week:   resilience

20 June 2022