Refs & Links

The links below relate to books, references and points made during BCC episodes…

EPISODE 106

Leopard vocalisations identified by our guest Janet, as similar to what she has heard locally in Argyll, as discussed in the episode.

Footprint that Janet found in one of her first follow ups of a big black cat sighting report in Argyll, as discussed in the episode.

EPISODE 105

Roe deer carcass in Caithness, as explained by Paul in the episode.  The impressions in the verge grassland to the left are thought to indicate the disturbance area where the struggle took place as the deer was ambushed by the assumed cat. Paul feels the carcass shows signs of despatch by a nape bite – see bottom photo. All of these points suggest the carcass was not a road traffic casualty which was then scavenged..

Potential nape bite impact: the following photo shows the potential sign of a predator’s nape bite.

The nape is the back of the neck. In technical anatomical-medical terminology, the nape is also called the nucha (from the Medieval Latin rendering of the Arabic نُخَاع, ‘spinal marrow’).

Electro-magnetic shielding of a trail camera… Paul applies a copper and cloth material which blocks mobile phone signals, GPS, and Wifi. This can block out a trail camera’s own electro-magnetic field, which some people theorise that animals, especially large cats, can detect, as discussed more on podcast episode 82. Paul also puts insulation on the cameras to try to extend battery life.

Being watched from the forest edge… A witness reported this reflective eye shine from the forest from a suspected large cat in Caithness. Paul explains on the podcast how he followed up, measured the eye shine reflection at around 70-90cms height, and put trail cams in the area.

EPISODE 104

Photos below from our guest Adam of the distant view & zoomed in view of his recent encounter.

Original photo snapped by Adam, and the zoomed in version below, taken as he grabbed his phone camera having watched the animal from distance along the woodland path, as it finally moved into the vegetation, as described in the episode. This is a brightened photo – the original was taken at dusk.

Adam returned to the spot and measured the shoulder height as approx 75 cms.  The mock up photo below, adapted from the above original, suggest the animal in more detail, and relates to how Adam was viewing it before he managed to take a photo.

Illustrated presentation on big cats in Scotland. 4 Jan 2024

Paul Macdonald   Big Cats in Scotland – A new perspective. Jan 4, 2024   19.00  GMT

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/big-cats-in-scotland-a-new-perspective-tickets-783537631147

Children’s book recommendation: The Midnight Panther

https://www.booktrust.org.uk/book/t/the-midnight-panther/

EPISODE 103

Foxlights predator deterrent explained in these short videos…

https://www.facebook.com/PeopleAndCarnivores/videos/foxlight-predator-deterrent/587383015226396/

Horse injuries on an 11 year old mare, in June 2023 at Sue’s stable area, as discussed in the episode.

EPISODE 102

The Westmorland Gazette local newspaper story of Charles’ cornered cat incident in 1997

Photo of the claw marks in the caravan awning, as discussed in the episode.

Catstycam peak in the Lake District – photos of the Wainwright route up this mountain with the wildcat ladder final ascent. Catstycam is our word of the week, meaning: “The steep path frequented by wildcats” from Old English and Norse.

http://www.wainwrightroutes.co.uk/catstycam_r1.htm

EPISODE 101

Our guest, Sharon’s Facebook page for big cats in Cumbria…

www.facebook.com/groups/277390562349271

Sharon Larkin our main guest hears the big cat experiences of a Cumbrian farmer at the Westmorland Show.
Episode 101 in recording at the Westmorland Show, with Paul Ramsden right, and Ian, Aurora and Sharon on the left.
Rick in discussion with Ian, flanked by Aurora & Sharon, during the ep 101 recording at the Westmorland Show big cat stand.

Big cats attitude survey at end of day 1 of Westmorland Show. Two of the “leave them alone” votes cam from sheep farmers who rarely experienced any sheep kills felt to be from big cats but felt their role in deer culling was useful.

Big cats attitude survey at end of day 2 of Westmorland Show. The two “cull them” votes came from sheep farmers who had experienced too many sheep kills felt to be from big cats. One of these farmers meant literally cull them but not eradicate them.

Sharon’s Quad Bike to aid investigation across some of the wild terrain of Cumbria.
Bagheera the savannah cat on tour in the Lake District with Sharon and Ian, as discussed towards the end of the episode.

Report of Lake District big cat encounter at Pike of Blisco as discussed in the episode:
https://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/19358681.walker-recounts-terror-meeting-big-cat-lake-district

Photos by Sharon of the big cat incident near Gretna, just over the border into Scotland, in 2014, as explained by Sharon in the episode. Cows were standing scared along the field headland. Height of the grass is over a foot.

Cumbrian sheep carcasses found by Sharon, with sheared muzzles, a likely sign of predation by muzzle-hold suffocation, as discussed in the episode.

Facebook group for Sharon’s savannah cat, Bagheera

www.facebook.com/groups/167509237005269

EPISODE 100

Photo from the pub podcast recording of episode 100

Show recording at The Royal Oak pub, Herefordshire.
From left to right: Mark Graves, Alyn English, Nick (third witness), David (first witness), Rick, Fleur (second witness)

ITV ‘This Morning’ show discussion on big cats with Rick – see link below

18 August 2023  

https://www.itv.com/thismorning/articles/are-big-cats-roaming-the-uk?fbclid=IwAR3S-43JTIQFPTbKAd5YgG_wncYe2By7IdMlOV1aaW6_3VjZfPeYp2KND9s

Rick talking big cats with Carole Baskin on Jeremy Kyle Talk TV show 17 August 2023

Witness report of close encounter with black panther in NE Wales

Panther Britannia Declassified https://www.amazon.co.uk/Panthera-Britannia-Cliff-Barackman/dp/B0B6DW27PY

EPISODE 99

Trapping coypu in Norfolk – article showing photos from the coypu eradication program, as discussed in the episode…

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/23203163.norfolk-remembering-rise-fall-coypu/

Big cat press cuttings from past decades…  Examples from Phebe’s collection of press cuttings on big cat reports, showing similar issues discussed in past decades, as discussed on the episode. 

EPISODE 98

Over a third of Britons believe it’s true or probably true that big cats are living wild in Britian, according to a YouGov Survey on belief in big cats wild in Britain, May 2023.

A more detailed breakdown of the YouGuv survey results is on the link below, which reveals a higher proportion of sceptical views amongst younger aged people. The survey was conducted before the recent DNA result was widely reported in the media, meaning some of the respondents may have been unaware of the DNA result indicating a black leopard’s presence in Gloucestershire.

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/survey-results/daily/2023/05/12/86700/2

EPISODE 97

2022 Glastonbury alleged big cat sighting in festival set-up area – media report as discussed by Jayne and Rick in the episode…

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/fears-glastonbury-revellers-huge-puma-27295417

Strawberry leopard examples and explanations referred to by Mark Graves on the episode (A strawberry leopard is a erythristic colour morph)…

https://www.earthtouchnews.com/conservation/conservation/ultra-rare-strawberry-leopards-discovered-in-south-africa-photos/

https://www.lionlandscapes.org/post/strawberry-leopard-in-selous-game-reserve

AI article on big cats in Britain as mentioned by Rick in the episode…

Introduction

In recent years, the United Kingdom has witnessed a captivating phenomenon – the resurgence of big cats, including leopards, pumas, and lynx, in its wild landscapes. These magnificent creatures, reminiscent of ancient times, have caught the attention of nature enthusiasts and sparked discussions about the possibility of their successful reintroduction or the existence of a thriving population. While the subject remains a topic of debate, numerous sightings and compelling evidence suggest that big cats are reclaiming their place in the British countryside.

Historical Context

Historically, the British Isles were home to large carnivores, including bears, wolves, and wildcats. However, due to human activity, habitat loss, and deliberate extermination, these animals gradually vanished from the landscape. The last recorded wild British lynx was shot in 1826, while the last known indigenous wildcat died in the early 20th century. The presence of big cats, however, has become a recurring theme in modern times.

Sightings and Evidence

Over the past decades, reports of big cat sightings have emerged across various regions in the UK, from the dense forests of Scotland to the vast moorlands of England. Witnesses have described encounters with large felines resembling leopards, pumas, and lynx. Although some may dismiss these sightings as mere hoaxes or misidentifications, there exists a growing body of evidence supporting the existence of these elusive creatures.

Photographic and video evidence captured by trail cameras, drones, and even ordinary citizens has provided compelling visual documentation. Footprints and claw marks resembling those of big cats have been discovered in remote areas, along with carcasses displaying signs of predation consistent with the hunting patterns of these feline predators. In some cases, experts have conducted DNA analysis on hair and scat samples, revealing genetic markers closely related to known big cat species.

Potential Origins

One theory proposes that these big cats are descendants of animals once held in captivity, either as exotic pets or as part of traveling circuses. Escapes or releases during the implementation of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976 could account for their presence in the wild today. Another possibility is that these cats are remnants of populations that survived in remote areas or were deliberately released to control other species, such as rabbits or deer, by private estates.

Conservation Perspectives

The emergence of big cats in the UK has ignited discussions about their conservation and the potential for their reintroduction. Proponents argue that the presence of these predators could help restore ecological balance by controlling populations of herbivores and enhancing biodiversity. They cite successful reintroduction programs in other countries as evidence of their potential benefits. However, skeptics raise concerns about potential conflicts with livestock and public safety, urging caution and further scientific research before considering any reintroduction initiatives.

Research and Monitoring Efforts

Recognizing the need for accurate information and reliable data, several organizations and researchers have undertaken initiatives to study and monitor big cat populations in the UK. Collaborative efforts between conservationists, universities, and government agencies have involved camera traps, DNA analysis, and public reporting systems to gather evidence and encourage citizen participation. These endeavors aim to improve understanding, debunk myths, and inform future management strategies.

Conclusion

The resurgence of big cats in the United Kingdom has captivated the public’s imagination and fuelled debates about their origins, conservation, and potential reintroduction.

EPISODE 96

Info on an escaped & recovered pet puma in Herefordshire as mentioned by George in the episode…

https://m.facebook.com/herefordshirelifethroughalens/photos/a.522017661205870.1073741828.517710644969905/1792452304162393/?type=3

Little big cat…?   The shot cat, which George believes to be a young leopard, as discussed in the episode. George described this cat as muscled up, with rounded ears and shadow spot markings. It was shot when eating a sheep (a 6 month old lamb). George explains on the episode that although a physically strong looking individual, it was nothing like any feral cat he had seen. Although it was a rugged individual, the coat was in poor condition. One theory is that it was an orphaned cub with stunted growth.

British leopard DNA result press coverage in 2023

British leopard DNA result press coverage 20 years earlier in 2003

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/1444524/Forensic-tests-prove-leopard-is-on-the-loose-in-Lincolnshire.html

Links for viewing Panther Britannia documentary

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/amzn1.dv.gti.4a505c58-ee03-499a-9224-9b5e39138d13?autoplay=0&ref_=atv_cf_strg_wb

New leopard awareness website – marking International Leopard Day, May 3 2023

https://internationalleopardday.org/about-leopards

EPISODE 95

The leopardess approached on foot in Botswanas Mashatu area, as described by Mark in the episode. Photo taken from being on foot – Mark described this as an exceptional encounter for being on foot

Training for emergencies with charging animals… The training range at Moholoholo (on the mid western edge of Greater Kruger) as explained by Mark Graves in the episode. Mark is on the left.

Mark our guest (on the left) in his trail guide mode in Kruger, SA. Mark’s kit for 5 days is against the tree behind.

Backing off from an advancing mother mountain lion: Mark our guest refers to this footage from Utah, USA, when recounting his experience backing off from a lioness and cubs in South Africa.

Leopard scat from Dorset – this sample yielded a Panthera pardus result from a black hair within the scat, presumed to be a grooming hair from the host animal.  Thanks to Jonathan McGowan

Rick’s adopted stray cat Zakie, as mentioned on the podcasts…

Thanks to Best Podcasts for recommending Big Cat Conversations. Find Best Podcasts here…

EPISODE 94

Big Cats article by Tristran, our guest, as discussed in the episode…

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/big-cats-live-among-dont-8290323

EPISODE 93

The Black Cat café in Northleach, Cotswolds, where Rick and Steve were going to record this episode…

https://www.facebook.com/BlackCatCafeNorthleach/

Scar the lion at the big cat sanctuary in Colorado, with Steve our guest, who volunteered there in 2008.

The Beast of Burford photographed by Phil Buck in 2005, as discussed in the episode.

https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/6558309.feline-brave-go-catching-beast-burford/

The Charlbury panther explained in a local newspaper report:

https://www.witneygazette.co.uk/news/11006076.steel-sculpture-revealed-source-charlbury-panther-sightings/

Shark House, owned by the late Bill Heine of BBC Radio Oxford, who hosted Steve’s big cat updates and phone-ins.

The late Johnny Kingdom with our guest Steve Archibald and Chris Johnson checking first generation camera traps for the beast of Exmoor.
A short extract from the late Johnny Kingdom’s BBC Exmoor series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh6Va2xrXZE

EPISODE 92

Weblink for the website run by Alex our guest

https://www.mybigcatsightings.co.uk/

Two video clips of potential large cat in south Devon woodland.

Overlay of fox and potential large cat caught by a trail camera on the same path at different times. This is on the same path as the video clips, so may help to scale the potential large cat in the video footage.

Photo of back end of potential large cat

Photo of back end of fox on same trail cam at same position

Above photos merged as an overlay to help show scale of potential large cat

One of the large scats found in south Devon woodland as discussed on the episode. The scale reference is a 5 pence coin.  Finding scats like this, as well as hearing then seeing a puma, encouraged Alex to set up trail cameras in the area.

EPISODE 91

Photograph of an alleged lynx, as discussed near the start of the episode, taken in Borders region February 2022.  Photo: Derek Liddell

Carcass by A9 near Perth, found June 2022, as discussed on the episode. From scaling against the roadside curbstones this animal is marginally over 1 meter long in the body. The tail may be broken according to the informant. Whatever it is, the scale indicates this animal could predate a deer. Thanks to the informant and photographer Alex Cairnie.

West Highlands dash cam witness reaction footage:  Lesley Grey shared this clip from her rear-view dash cam, showing her stunned reaction and her colourful language as she drove past what she felt was a large cat in the West Highlands of Scotland, in January 2023. Thanks to Lesley for sharing. 

Link for the Wild Beast Trust which in 2006 declared intentions to release wild animals including six Eurasian lynx.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Beasts_Trust

The Black Beast of Bin – below is the origin of the 1994 poem sung on the episode by Shona Donaldson

Letter & poem published in the Press & Journal newspaper:  31/12/1994

The Black Beast of Bin

Sir – With the sudden interest in the fauna up about Cairney, I submit a bit of nonsense to help to fill a column for the New Year.

It is obviously a parody on Drumdelgie, but I assume that the chiel’s copyright expired lang syne.

Incidentally, my forebear William Cowie was minister at Cairney at the same time the bothy ballad was written. In the statistical account, he gives a glowing account of Drumdelgie, very different from the view from the bothy.

Best wishes for 1995.

The Black Beast of Bin

(To the tune of Drumdelgie), There’s a puma up by Cairney, Fa’s kent baith far and wide, Tae be the great black beastie, Upon sweet Deveronside. The Beastie of thon muckle toon, He is baith hard and sair, Upon the puir old yowies, That are his favourite fare.

At six o’clock he creeps about, Just as the sun gaes doon, He sniffs the air for yowies, That he will hae richt soon, For after he has sniffed aboot, And found a juicy sheep, It’s then he has his breakfast, As ye are gaun tae sleep.

Sae shepherds guard yer ain good sheep, And chase awa thon beast, For if ye dinna mind them, The beast will hae a feast. There’s some say there are twa o them, And some say there is nane, But something is gey hungry, That just leaves skin and bane.

Oh fare ye weel ye muckle cat, Or are ye just a rumour? O fare ye weel ye great black beast, Fen gin you’re no a puma. Oh fare ye weel whate’er ye be, For we will hae your skin, We’ll shoot ye gin we find ye, In Cairney or the Bin.

Rev. J.L. Cowie,  Kinross

Paul MacDonald and David McEwan with the tiger skeleton used as an information prop for the big cats stand at rural shows in Scotland.

Paul MacDonald with the big cat stand at Peebles Show 2022

Locations of alleged big cat releases   Map showing locations of alleged large cat releases in Scotland, as discussed in the episode.

EPISODE 90

Rick in discussion with Andy and Claire, our guests for the episode

Andy and Claire our guests, featured in Gloucestershire Live:

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/two-big-cats-heard-howling-7833964

Potential large cat call, with echo, recorded on phone camera near Stroud, as discussed on the episode:

Puma communication calls – some examples of puma communication calls: 

Potential large black cat on trail camera, with overlay of roe doe (on trail behind potential cat) and fawns for scale. Note the black animal’s full length of tail, to the tip.  July 2016.

Three further events on the same trail camera, showing a long thick black tubular tail. These were captured at long intervals from the first photo above.

The ‘swivel’ trail camera capturing a black animal with long tail, seconds after one of the above tail-photos was captured, as the animal descends into a small ravine. The top height of the tree root-all, to the left of the animal, is 85 cms. Note the long tail of the animal. 

Two shot photo-burst of a black animal seemingly pouncing then sitting, around a meter from where the above ‘tail’ photos were captured.  

Andy attaching a hair trap to a tree trunk where the potential large cat with a long tubular long tail has walked by three times, as filmed by trail camera.

Andy and Claire, with their sons Brock and Raven, measuring the tree scratches, as discussed on the episode.

The trees scratches on the tree, as described by Andy on the episode.  

ITV news story from 2013, of panther close to young children blackberry picking, as discussed on the episode:

https://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/story/2013-09-03/big-cat-sighted-in-glos/

EPISODE 89

A clowder of cats:  The link below explains our words of the week for this episode, a clowder of cats, which means 3 or more cats…

https://www.dailypaws.com/cats-kittens/behavior/what-is-a-group-of-cats-called

Black Panthers in Marvel films and in nature – Smithsonian Magazine article

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/14-fun-facts-about-black-panthers-180981112/

Panthera Britannica documentary on Amazon Prime

Footage of alleged black panther following deer in Gloucestershire, December 2022

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/big-cat-videoed-stalking-deer-7925399

EPISODE 88

The eaten out muntjac carcass discussed by Paulo in the latter part of the episode…

Media & newspaper coverage of recent sightings reports in the Chilterns area:

https://www.buckinghamshirelive.com/news/buckinghamshire-news/big-cats-spotted-near-m25-7932875

https://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/23152454.beast-bucks-huge-sandy-big-cat-spotted-m40/

Ours second guest Paulo mentioned call blasters and decoys for trying to attract large cats for filming. Here are examples of these techniques

Example of a hunting decoy luring a puma (no hunting involved in this clip) 

Call blasters – a selection described in the link below

Please note: The linked video below has been produced for the hunting market, but the products described may be of interest for luring a large cat for observation and potential filming.

P22 The Hollywood mountain lion – RIP

The radio collared mountain lion known as P22 who had a territory in the Hollywood hills, hemmed in by major roads, became a celebrity himself and did much to raise awareness of the life of mountain lions. Because of multiple health issues he had to be euthanised in December 2022.

Below is an article explaining the health issues that influenced the decision to euthanise him, and a short video-documentary on the way he was embraced by different communities in Los Angeles. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-12-17/why-officials-euthanized-ailing-mountain-lion-p22

https://abc7.com/los-angeles-mountain-lion-p-22-p-22-captured-p22-future/12567050/

Trailers for the documentary: P22, the cat that changed America

EPISODE 87

BBC Radio Gloucestershire big cats feature April 2022 – includes witness report of two stalking panthers seen near Stow on the Wold, Glos.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c45q8x

BBC RADIO GLOUCESTER SHIRE BIG CATS FEATURE 1O/12/22
Starts at 1 hour 12 mins

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0dhnnyq

Big Cats poem & limerick prizes…

As well as a Big Cat Conversations T Shirt, the winners & runners-up of our poem and limerick competition receive some of the big cat branded products below. Our thanks go to these sponsors of the competition. All the submitted limericks and poems will be on the website soon…

Dartmoor Beast Gin   by Dartmoor Distillery

Beast of Bodmin ale   from Firebrand Brewing Company

https://firebrandbrewing.co.uk/products/beast-of-bodminbrand Brewery  

Big Cat stout   by Stroud Brewery

Exmoor Beast Ale   by Exmoor Ales

Beast 0f Dartmoor Chilli Sauce   By Dartmoor Chilli Farm

https://www.dartmoorchilli.com/Chilli_Sauces/cat967685_870184.aspx

EPISODE 86

Thermal cam footage from Devon, October 2022. This footage, taken on an infra-red night-vision camera, shows an animal being walked towards. More of its body and its tail becomes evident as the camera gets closer in the final few seconds of the clip. 

A selection of stills from the Devon night-vision footage, October 2022, extracted from the video clip above.   

Predator warning signs in British Columbia, Canada, in the local area of Rob our guest.

Examples of trails used by Rob in British Columbia.

Rob our guest at the top of one of his favourite trails in British Columbia.  

Bear spray carried by Rob when hiking in Canada, in case of confrontations with bears or cougars – as discussed on the episode. He also carries two protective knives in his kit bag. None of these items would be legal to use in Britain.

Bobcat photographed on one of Rob’s local trails. These pics were not taken with a camera phone.  They are reproduced here with kind permission from a specialist local photographer, Moose C Stoffregen, who shares her wildlife photographs with fellow trail users.

Coyote photograph by specialist local photographer Moose C Stoffregen. Location is alongside one of Rob’s local trails in BC, Canada.

EPISODE 85

Russ the police dog who confronted the panther with John, our second guest, in Warwickshire in 2003.

EPISODE 84

Thermal camera footage from Derbyshire, 2022

The video clips and stills below accompany episode 84.  They were taken in Derbyshire at dusk on various dates between June and September 2022. They are selected from amongst 20 observations and filming sessions during that time.

The footage shows what appears to be a cat walking along a stone wall and foraging in the adjacent pasture searching for small mammals like voles and young hares.  The wall height varies slightly along its length but is mostly around 53 inches (135 cms) high. From this reference the animal appears to be around 43 inches (109 cms) in body length (nose to rump). 

Much of the footage is taken from a distance of around 150 meters, with the camera on different magnifications. 

The thermal signature of the tail of mammals does not always show up on thermal footage, unless elite cameras are used. We have included some stills which do indicate the tail.  

A SELECTION OF STILLS FROM THE THERMAL FOOTAGE

Comparisons of zoom in on Don’s footage (top) with Ade’s footage (ep 68) below

Still from video showing wall walking

Still from video showing foraging in pasture

Zoomed in on white hot mode

One of the few stills to show tail

STILLS FROM THE THERMAL FOOTAGE SHOWING SCALE REFERENCE

Two stills to indicate scale, using known length of gap in the wall.

VIDEOS OF WALL WALKING

VIDEOS OF FORAGING IN PASTURE

EPISODE 83

Our guest Paul Ramsden at home on his boat, with ragdolls Rosie & Jim behind, as discussed in the episode.

This photo is from part of the photography project A Glaring by Isaac Law. The photos can be seen at:  www.isaaclaw.co.uk

A Glaring’ is a photography project about the people, places and artefacts associated with the British Big Cat Phenomenon. The project uses ideas of the mundane and unspectacular, hopefully showing the integrity of the subject, where trace evidence is often ephemeral and the animals themselves have notorious stealth.

On the Cotswolds edge – Rick and black lab Duke, with Paul and Spud, on the edge of the Cotswolds with the Severn Vale behind, as discussed in the first segment of the episode.

Stopping points in the Cotswold valley woodland – photos from some of the locations where Paul  and Rick stopped to chat when recording the episode, to consider how big cats would use a hidden valley woodland in Gloucestershire.

Swan carcass as mentioned by Paul in first part of the episode:  Paul concluded this and similar swan carcasses may be big cat related because of the impacts, the dragging, the sheared wing feathers.  Paul also found a possible big cat print as pictured below, near one of the dragged swan carcasses.  

EPISODE 82

Filming the Zanzibar leopard – the moment it was caught on a trail camera by Forest Galante and his team in Animal Planet’s Extinct or Alive? series

Zanzibar leopard, as discussed on the episode – information on its taxonomy and history

EMF shielding and HECS suit – the topic of our words of the week being discussed in this discussion between podcaster Joe Rogan and biologist and broadcaster Forest Galante.

Electromagnetic shielding fabric – should we wrap trail cameras in this material?…

https://www.etsy.com/uk/market/emf_shielding_fabric

Electromagnetic blocking clothing:

https://heatbreeze.com/hecs-scentlok/

De-extinction of the Thylacine – A short feature on proposals to clone and bring back the Thylacine in Tasmania

The Hunter 2011 film with the Thylacine at the heart of the plot…

EPISODE 81

Photos from the big cats stand at the August 2022 Denbigh & Flint Show

Rick speaking with local politician Darren Millar for the episode, about Darren’s interest in Welsh government support for big cat research. 

The big cats stand at the Show, ready for visitors at the start of the day.

Final results of the attitude survey on big cats, showing a big majority in favour of ‘leave them alone’. 

EPISODE 80

Charlie our guest’s nature photos and Instagram link… 

https://www.instagram.com/maz.shotz/

Send in your big cat poems and limericks!

We’re having a competition for the most fun big cat poem and limerick (two categories).

Email your entry to rick@bigcatconversations.com by end of October 2022

All entries will be read out in a show in November, and everyone can vote for their favourites in December. Winners will get big cat hamper goodies and a Big Cat Conversations T Shirt !

Rick’s Limerick is below, but don’t vote for it!

The British big panther – all black

Fools stalkers who lack the hard facts

He gives them the slip

With their lures of cat-nip

While friendly locals brush over his tracks…

‘Look Who’s Stalking’ article in The Economist magazine

A feature on investigating British big cats, with specially commissioned photos of how black leopards would look in parts of the southern England landscape.  The article is free to read, by signing in.

https://www.economist.com/1843/2022/07/28/look-whos-stalking-the-black-leopards-of-gloucestershire

EPISODE 79

New books on British big cats from Jonathan McGowan:

https://hangar1publishing.com/pages/jonathan-mcgowan

EPISODE 78

Chris our guest, with metal detecting kit, at the tree where the puma-like cat descended in front of him.

Andrew Hemmings at Royal Agricultural University checking the skeletal remains of deer that Chris recovered from a metal detecting site. Blue arrows marked on the bones indicate tooth pits which became more evident once the bones were baked and cleaned at the Royal Agricultural University lab.

The neolithic flint axe head that Chris describes uncovering the day after a dream about finding it.

Panther Britannia documentary: link to British big cats documentary by Matt Everett available on demand for a small fee:

EPISODE 77

Video footage of alleged big cat in field near Doncaster, 2021, from the Doncaster Free Press, as mentioned by our first guest Martin

https://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/new-footage-emerges-huge-black-panther-latest-big-cat-sighting-doncaster-3127359

The first press report of Martin’s sighting, as reported in the Doncaster Free Press

https://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/boy-11-shook-up-after-being-chased-by-big-cat-in-latest-doncaster-sighting-3702961

The press reports spread to national papers such as here in the Daily Mirror, with “petrified dad” headlines…

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dad-petrified-big-cat-bolts-27052184

Another Doncaster area sighting – press report, from June 2022

https://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/rare-sighting-of-the-giant-black-cat-as-big-as-a-great-dane-in-doncaster-3734580

Lynx location – photo of the tree where the lynx emerged as it came towards John, our second guest.He took this photo when re-visiting the location for his podcast interview call.

Interview location of John, our second guest – John revisited the location of his close encounter with the lynx, and took this photo after the interview call. He was sitting reading a book on the fallen tree, when the lynx emerged behind him.

Black panther sculpture, ‘Resilience’, made from driftwood by Brendon Rawlings

https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/onlookers-stunned-big-black-cat-7211657

EPISODE 76

Previous podcast guests Paul MacDonald (left) and David MacEwan (right), with an exhibit that will be part of the Scottish Big Cat Research outreach stand at rural shows, from Summer 2022.

Link to the crowdfunding page, to help big cats research, sightings-mapping, and networking in Scotland – Crowdfunding to fund the Scottish Big Cat Research Outreach Programme 2022 on JustGiving

One of the summer 2022 events for the big cats Scotland outreach stand will be at the Scottish Game Fair – The Scottish Game Fair – The GWCT Scottish Game Fair (scottishfair.com)

EPISODE 75

Panther & Lynx posters…  Artist Tim Bradford has produced these striking images to illustrate the big cats of Britain.

Posters of these images are available as A3 heavyweight art prints, at a cost of £20 each inc. p&p   Send a WhatsApp or text msg to Tim on 07590 042 620 to order one.

EPISODE 74

BBC Radio Gloucestershire 30/4/22 big cats feature and witness reports, Starts at 11.12.  Available till 28/5/22

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c0lgcl

Links below for our guest, Charlie Bones:

Charlie’s older blogs are still available for reference:

bigcatsinsussex.blogspot.com

Website:  www.bigcatsinsussex.co.uk 

FB page:  big cats in Sussex

EPISODE 73

BBC Radio 4 The Listening Project  17 April 2022

Big cats discussion on the Listening Project, with Coryn Memory
(podcast ep 2) and Paul Ramsden (podcast eps 8 and 28)…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cqx3b/broadcasts/upcoming

Word of the week is the acronym ADVOKATE as used in police and military investigations, as explained here. Diagram below courtesy of College of Policing

Snowdonia’s wild goats – photos from Jonathan as discussed in the first half of the episode…

British primitive goats – information on wild feral goat herds in Britain:

The possible big cat lay-up spot and cave-overhang in Snowdonia as described by Jonathan:

Press report of the climbing accident rescue, with Buxton Mountain Rescue – as described by Jonathan at the start of the episode…

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/air-ambulance-scrambled-climber-hurt-6935035

EPISODE 72

Craig our guest working on a farm in the Brendon Hills part of Exmoor back in 1992, close to his black panther encounters there in 1983.

EPISODE 71

Photos of the deer chase – Amanda our first guest took footage of what she believed was a panther closing in on a roe deer, around 250 meters away. She had seen the cat much closer to her just before this. These photos are screen shots from her smart phone video.

The screen-shot photos show the original deer chase photo, then a cropped-and zoomed in version of the deer chase, and then one of the alleged cat with tail in the air as it closes on the deer – while the deer is out of view, blocked by a tree in the foreground.

Photos of the deer carcass – Amanada and her partner located what they believe is the resulting roe deer carcass in the same field, five days after Amanda’s sighting.

These photos show the assumed drag marks close to the laid out carcass, the piles of plucked-out fur, the clinically peeled and eaten out carcass, and tooth pits on the mandible – this jaw bone has been submitted to the study at Royal Agricultural University.

Words of the week:  Landscape of fear – video example of predators’ effects on deer movements in Washington State, illustrating the influence of fear of predators on the browsing actions of the deer, and how predators help create more diverse ecosystems as a result of the influence on their prey.  

EPISODE 70

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 

Sanjay Gubbi’s work: www.holematthi.org

Sanjay’s leopard book:

https://scroll.in/article/993738/conservationist-sanjay-gubbi-condenses-10-years-of-fieldwork-in-this-guide-to-the-leopard

Sanjay’s tiger book:

http://rainfedbooks.com/second-nature.html

Video Clips of April 2016 incident when Sanjay was attacked by a fleeing leopard:

EPISODE 69

Coming in episode 70….  Interview with leopard specialist from India, Sanjay Gubbi, including his own account of this skirmish with a leopard. This video shows him being pulled down by the leopard on the fence – he recounts the experience in episode 70. 

EPISODE 68

Clip 1: First footage – Ade’s footage of what he believes is the big cat steadily walking along a field edge, in early January 2022. The background field margin consists of shelter belt trees rather than a traditional hedgerow. Ade estimates the distance to the animal at the initial stage is 120m.

Clip 2: a sense of scale – Jane filmed walking one of the huskies at the same initial location as clip 1, to help indicate scale. #

Clip 3: domestic cat heat signature – One of Ade and Jane’s domestic cats filmed on the thermal camera to show the locomotion of this small cat.

Clip 4: under the wolf moon – Ade filmed this clip under the full moon of 18 January 2022. The animal comes into better view at intervals through the footage, starting around 150 meters away and coming closer before turning and veering off when around 120 meters away.  

Final view of animal in clip 4 as it moves away. The footage was taken around 4am on 18 Jan 2022.

Article from Mongabay on thermal imaging in the study of wildlife:

EPISODE 67

BBC Radio Devon big cats feature including witness reports, 6 Jan 2022. This link is live until 5 February 2022

Starts at 14.13 mins (13 mins into the prog) ends at 14.59. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0b9qglf

Audiobooks on the works of Jim Corbett and Kenneth Anderson and their writings on Indian wildlife and man eating tigers and leopards,as discussed in this episode… https://www.youtube.com/c/IndianJungleTales/videos

Documentary on man-eating leopards in Sri Lanka, Leopards vs Humans: the Battle for Survival,  relating to the discussion on man eating leopards in this episode.

EPISODE 66

Annie Brazier’s illustrations of a Eurasian lynx and a puma as discussed in the episode:

Annie Brazier’s website showing her animal illustrations:

https://www.ealainstudio.art/

Screenshot from footage taken by Suzie in Norfolk, November 2021, as discussed on the episode.

The two video clips of Suzie’s footage are further below.  Reproduced by kind permission from Suzie Williamson.

Facebook survey of big cat sightings – Link to summary of the survey results discussed by Shelly Coles in the episode: Facebook Big Cat Survey Results 2021 for BCC Podcast.pptx

Photos of alleged large cat seen in woodland in mid southern Ireland in November 2021, as discussed in the episode:

Shot cat in Herefordshire 2019, as discussed in the episode.

This cat has an extra-long tubular tail and muscular thigh and hind-quarters. The tail appears as long as the body.  The keeper who shot it states that he regretted it at the time and remains regretful.  We thank him for his permission to use the photograph here. No hairs or other sample material were taken from this cat for testing, before the body was disposed of, at the wish of the landowner. 

The cat was four and half feet from nose to tail, 24 pounds in weight, and according to the keeper “what stood out were the muscles in its head and jaws, plus spots clearly on both sides.  The ears were rounded on top, not pointed, and very broad”. 

Luna the black leopard filmed as a young cub – video footage of Luna the cared for black leopard in Siberia…

Alleged black panther footage, Northumberland December 2021, as mentioned at the end of the episode…https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/black-cat-tynedale-sighting-video-22496683

EPISODE 65

Luna the black leopard YouTube channel as mentioned in the outro of the episode:

LEOPARD DIARIES The Rosette in India   A book and a presentation by Sanjay Gubbi – a future guest on Big Cat Conversations…

Leopards and black leopards in Java: related to our word of the week for the episode, this article describes the leopard management and conservation efforts underway in Java, Indonesia, where around half the leopard population is black or melanistic.

https://forestsnews.cifor.org/15157/despite-threats-to-habitat-new-photos-provide-hope-for-endangered-javan-leopard?fnl=en

EPISODE 64

Michael’s illustrations of his panther sighting, as discussed in the episode:

The legend of the Buckland Shag in Surrey, as mentioned by our guest Michael:

https://www.rhuncovered.co.uk/the-legend-of-the-buckland-shag/

Savage Shadow – a classic book on pumas encountered in Western Australia in the 1970s, as featured on the new episode 8 of Missing Panther podcast

https://missingpanther.com.au/

EPISODE 63

Footage of alleged big cat in NW Norfolk, November 2021, to be discussed in a coming episode with a different witness who watched a big cat in the same area on the same day.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/big-cat-loose-grandparents-film-25431569

EPISODE 62

Big cat scat?  A dropping, (scat) found by Matt our second guest, in marshes at the edge of the Wirral, as discussed in the episode. 

Chester meadows report and alleged panther photo from January 2021, as discussed in the episode: https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/mcdonalds-delivery-driver-spots-enormous-19623797

Report of October 2021 puma reported in northern France, as mentioned in the episode: https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Petition-condemns-decision-to-shoot-puma-on-loose-in-north-France

Trailer and extract from 2019 documentary, Puma, the ghost of Gevaudan

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=614747075761094

EPISODE 61

Bannockburn carcass: the cat body found and reported by Garry, in Bannockburn in 2020, as discussed in this episode.

Tooth pits and shears on sheep bones, potentially from a big cat’s impact, found by our guest Paul in Summer 2021 in south Scotland, as discussed in the episode.

The Larkhall security camera footage:  Link to press report and footage of a large cat on the pathway or a domestic cat on the fence, at a property at Larkhall, Scotland, as discussed with Derek the property owner at the end of the episode.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/in-your-area/lanarkshire/lanarkshire-woman-told-large-cat-24825865

Screenshot from the Larkhall footage:   

EPISODE 60

Nick Albert (our first guest) official website: https://nickalbertauthor.com/

“This is Kia, our collie, on the road where I saw the Black Leopard. It was during the summer. The big cat was a little further up, laid across the width of the road in the sun. It was much larger than Kia, almost spanning the road. From this viewpoint, it climbed the embankment on the right.”
“Where I found the tracks showing the deer attack”
Pine marten on nut feeder, as mentioned by Nick

EPISODE 59

Newspaper cutting from 1996 of Dave D’s sighting, as he explains in the episode.

Sam Griffiths’ Instagram: https://instagram.com/sam_n_roman?utm_medium=copy_link

Photos of our guests with Rick recording the episode at the Wye Knott Inn, Herefordhire:

EPISODE 58

Corinium and the Roman leopards of Gloucestershire – Links explaining the Orpheus pavement Roman mosaic at Woodchester, as mentioned in our word of the week, Corinium: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/objects/Ednedds1T0S50EGNX_NbDg

Roman Mosaics

EPISODE 57

The Wexford panther? Lar’s footage of the large black animal included this still from the video…

Joe Rogan’s viewing of a black panther at his Texas property, as mentioned in the episode…

EPISODE 56

Footage of a possible black panther/leopard at Wortham, Suffolk, as discussed with Mark in the episode… https://nextdoor.co.uk/p/t8LqMsbBxtSL/c/17592221562373?utm_source=share

Cadair Idris and Dolgellau information as discussed with Jo our second guest.

https://naturalresources.wales/days-out/places-to-visit/north-west-wales/cadair-idris-national-nature-reserve/?lang=en

https://www.visitsnowdonia.info/dolgellau

https://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2021/06/14/snowdonia-bosses-say-group-will-consider-welsh-name-use-after-5000-strong-petition

EPISODE 55

Potential big cat scratch marks on tree (raking and plucking) as discussed with James in the episode.

Tooth pits on skeletal remains in Shropshire, potentially from a large cat’s carnassial tooth cusps, as discussed with James in the episode.

EPISODE 54

On the Prowl from Columbia University Press, as discussed in the first half of the episode.

Leopard cave painting at Chauvet, France – a depiction of a Late Pleistocene Ice Age leopard,  as discussed in the episode. http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet/
Lion and leopard on part of the Orpheus pavement, Roman mosaic from Woodchester, Gloucestershire. Photo: Press Agency.

EPISODE 53

Wicked problem:  A reference for our words of the week, wicked problem

https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/wicked-problems-5-steps-to-help-you-tackle-wicked-problems-by-combining-systems-thinking-with-agile-methodology

EPISODE 52

Links for Will Burrard Lucas’ book, website, instragram and camera technology:

Black leopard book website: https://www.blackleopardbook.com/

Will Burrard Lucas website: https://www.willbl.com

Equipment for camera trap photography: http://www.camtraptions.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/willbl

EPISODE 51

A glimpse of the Anglesey panther – Anne our guest explains how she managed to take a photo of the big cat without it being aware of her, and how she lost the original image on her phone and was left with this warn paper copy. Anne gives permission for use by Big Cat Conversations only.

Anne’s books partly based on experiencing the Anglesey big cat:

EPISODE 50

Website for our guest Gareth Patterson, containing links to his books and documentary clips on lions and elephants:  www.garethpatterson.com

EPISODE 49

Photo burst of a cat from Mark’s trail camera, concluding with a scale overlay against a roe deer in the same position – as discussed in the second half of the episode. Mark gives permission for use by Big Cat Conversations only.

EPISODE 48

Ireland’s west coast Wild Atlantic Way as mentioned in the episode:

https://www.thewildatlanticway.com/

Frodsham, Cheshire – CCTV camera films large black animal. Janet our first guest from west Ireland originates from Cheshire and briefly mentioned big cat sightings in north Cheshire. Meanwhile the Cheshire media have given much recent coverage to the topic including this story:

https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/big-cat-caught-ring-security-20329220

EPISODE 47

Roe buck carcass, Gloucestershire, March 2021 as described by Rick in the episode. Signs that suggest big cat involvement include the peeled back skin, sheared ribs, fresh clinical consumption, one ear removed, and signs of despatch by a muzzle hold.

EPISODE 46

BBC Radio 4 Ramblings with Clare Balding. The Big Cats episode of Ramblings, broadcast on 11 March 2021 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000sz8t

Tom’s encounter and video as reported on The Sun newspaper website… https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14000404/big-cat-mauls-animal-leicestershire/

Tom’s sketch of his encounter near Leicester – what he believed to be a puma pulling away a fox, with another cat in the foreground watching on, flicking its tail up.  Tom is our second guest in this episode.