EP:73 Dark secrets of the nature reserve

Jonathan is ex-special forces, retired from the police, and an expedition leader who has encountered large predators across different continents. In the first half of the episode he describes his experiences overseas in the wild and explains how to stay confident amongst large carnivores.  

In the second half he re-lives his confrontation with a black panther outside his house in south Derbyshire in 2013 – a big cat could have explained the strange behaviour of local wildlife and pets at the time, and the spooked reaction of dogs to an invisible presence on the nearby nature reserve.      

Word of the week:   ADVOKATE

17 April 2022

EP:72 Exmoor Beast – the untold stories

Craig encountered a black panther on Exmoor just before the main 1980s reports had begun in the area. He saw it when lamping foxes and later disturbed it in a sheep field eating a predated ewe. 15 years later he and his wife saw a similar big cat in the same area.  

Craig briefs us on farmers’ reactions to a big cat on Exmoor in the 1980s, and he reflects on the current big cat situation, from what he’s seen and heard about from his Herefordshire base today. 

Word of the week:   Shippon 

2 April 2022

EP:71 Nature’s deer cull

Amanda watched a black panther rush into position, then pursue a deer in Somerset in December 2021. She describes filming the final moments of the chase, and explains how she and her partner checked for large cat tooth pits on the eaten-out deer carcass found a few days later.  

We also speak to Will who watched a big cat close up, stalking deer in Gloucestershire in 2002 – Rick describes other reports in the same location that Will was unaware of.  

 Words of the week:   landscape of fear

20 March 2022 

EP:70 Leopard rosettes & human goosebumps

Leopard specialist Sanjay Gubbi describes his work tracking, monitoring and camera-trapping leopards in India, and helping people live alongside these stealthy predators. 

Sanjay gives us highlights from his new book, Leopard Diaries and re-lives the moment he was attacked by a fleeing leopard which got trapped at school buildings. 

 Word of the week:   dvipin

7 March 2022

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EP:69 Dartmoor military big cat watch, & France panthers

Our first guest Rich explains his thermal camera view of a big cat during his military training on Dartmoor. Our second guests Gareth and Ray discuss a black panther sighting during their family break in France. Ray has unrivalled experience of French and British big cats – he also describes his view of a black panther from his motorhome in County Durham.    

Word of the week:   Fusca

18 February 2022

EP:68 The panther, the huskies and the wolf moon

Jane and Ade are based at a chicken farm in Nottinghamshire – a black panther arrived on the scene in December 2021, witnessed several times so far, patrolling local fields and lanes. 

We hear from Jane and Ade about their encounters, the reactions of their huskies, and how Ade’s thermal camera helps survey the local fields at dawn and dusk. He explains how he has twice filmed what he believes to be the cat.  

Word of the week:   thermography  

2 February 2022

EP:67 Scotland, Somerset & Norfolk – 2021 investigators’ roundup

In part one David McEwan briefs us on key sightings from south Scotland in 2021, in part two Frank Tunbridge offers highlights from the 2021 big cat reports he received.

Both guests also reflect on Jim Corbett, the tracker, hunter and naturalist who wrote about man-eating tigers and leopards in north India in the middle of the 20th century, while Frank also discusses Kenneth Anderson’s experience of tigers and leopards in southern India in the same era.   

Word of the week:   ghooming

16 January 2021

EP:66 The goblin universe of big cat sightings

Our guests Annie Brazier and Shelly Coles discuss recent big cat encounters in Norfolk and in Ireland, as well as a shot cat from 2019 in Herefordshire. Annie and Shelly are both centrally involved in big cat sightings Facebook groups – they discuss the influence of Facebook on big cat reporting and they consider how the topic of big cats can affect people’s mental health.

All photos, illustrations and videos discussed in this edition are available on the Big Cat Conversations web site, on the refs and links page.

 Word of the week:   ocelli

1 January 2022

EP:65 Suffolk marshes – a wild goose-chase

Frazier watched a big black cat hunt for geese in marshland at the Suffolk coast in November 2021 – he describes the spectacle of the autumn arrival of geese on the marsh, complete with the lurking predator.

Words of the week:    macan kumbang  

11  December 2021