Are Puma, Black Leopard and Lynx Living Wild In Kent

More unusual phenomena in Kent linked from the Kent51 Archive - If have anything 'unexplained' you'd like to share please email us

From KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH (01634 302572):

Word has reached KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH that two female pumas (mountain lion's, cougars) have recently been released into the Kent countryside. Although the location cannot be disclosed, as to deter hunter's, but we have established that both animals are young and healthy, and also prove that people are still able to obtain such animals which in turn will bolster the abundant population that already roams the county.

Despite scepticism towards the existence of these animals, Kent Big Cat Research, this year alone, has already received more than 65 eye-witness reports of large cats ranging from black leopard to lynx and are aware of two female pumas, lynx and black leopard being released into the wilds previously, although such releases do not account for sightings which were recorded as far back as 1545.

The two cats released will certainly be used to humans, but should anyone come in contact with any kind of large, exotic cat they should not approach, but neither run, but instead back of slowly.

Although large cats are now fully established in our countryside, such cats are also still being released. During the '70s a Clouded Leopard escaped from Howlett's Zoo and despite 'experts' claiming it would not survive in our climate, it was on the prowl for 18 months before being shot.

A black leopard was also shot on the 1930s on the North Downs, and another was released in Gravesend during the 1970s as well as numerous smaller cats, and there have been alleged attacks on humans on the outskirts of London and Gravesend although such cases are very rare.

During our investigations we are still uncovering numerous pens and illegal enclosures where large cats were once housed and also released so this recent incident is by no means nothing new.

The puma measures up to five-feet in length and has a fawn-tan coloured coat with a long tail with a black tip. It has a small head and in its native country, parts of the U.S. and Canada, attacks on humans have been fatal.

KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH would like to see such animals protected in the English countryside. If you see one call Neil Arnold

By Neil Arnold

Kent Big Cat Research is the counties only serious study of evidence and eye-witness reports of exotic cats. Its aims are to monitor the behaviour, breeding populations, territory and diet and to make the public aware that large felines such as Puma, Black leopard and Lynx are roaming the county, and need to be protected.

I have worked with local newspapers, BBC South-East News, Meridian News and Radio Kent in order to appeal to anyone who may have seen a large exotic cat.

From as far and wide as Dover to Sevenoaks, from Maidstone to Deal, elusive cats are roaming. These animals are possibly the offspring of many released into the wild during the mid 1970s when the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was introduced which basically meant that anyone who owned an exotic cat would either have to pay huge license fees to keep it, or give it up. Many owners released their animals. From then on pairs of Leopards would find each other as they prowled large territories. Such cats would have produced between two and four cubs, each living for around twenty-five years.

The cats that exist in the Kent countryside have been there since the early 1900s but only now are more and more people encountering these animals and reporting their sightings.

There are no lions and tigers nationwide, the only real ‘big’ cat is the Black Panther (melanistic leopard), a four to five- feet long feline with a gene mutation which causes its coat to appear very dark whilst in certain light the rosette pattern can be observed. This agile predator can climb trees and omits a deep, sawing cough. The Puma (mountain lion or cougar), which is fawn-coloured is roughly the same size but is the largest Lesser cat, it is called this because it cannot roar as such but omits shrill mating cries. Both of these animals have long tails, and stand around two-feet high.

Smaller cats also inhabit Kent. The Lynx is known for its bobbed tail and tufted ears, there are various species with marked coats whilst the Caracal is similar looking, but has a longer tail and appears rusted in colour.

All of these animals are nocturnal and solitary hunters which will feed off rabbits, rodents, birds, foxes and prowl into towns and take domestic cats and livestock. They are shy yet curious creatures which will only appear aggressive if they are cornered, injured or provoked.

Many sightings of these cats occur at dusk and dawn, the times when these animals hunt. People in their cars, ramblers, dog-walkers, farmers, postmen, anglers and just about anyone in the right place at the right time will see these animals, an encounter they will never forget, and sometimes never report.

Within twenty or so years these felines will be pretty much native to Britain, from Scotland down to Devon, from Essex up to Norfolk, hundreds, if not thousands of people are coming across evidence for these cats. Paw-prints, eaten prey, photographs and camcorder footage prove that Britain has a new predator which is top of the food chain. New species may evolve due to inter-breeding, and many people may not wish to share the local countryside with these animals, but they are there. Kent Big Cat Research wants to hear from you if you have found any evidence of a large cat in your area. All calls will be treated with the strictest confidence. Neil Arnold on 01634 302572 or

Since this feature was originally publish Neil has been in touch and adds:

"there is a lot of conclusive proof of exotic cats roaming Kent as well as Britain, but people like myself are not interested in splattering it about over the newspapers and television. I understand that there is scepticism but we do not want to see these cats killed just to prove they are there. The fact that I have collected more than 800 reports of these cats means that there are either many cats roaming the county, or those who see them are stupid enough to confuse everyday animals with something that is five-feet long with a long, hooked tail...that growls very deeply."

"Whilst England is densely populated, it is also known as the Garden Of England because of its rural nature. However, I have on record numerous reports of cats that have been shot, run over (smaller cats such as Jungle Cats) but once again, it is difficult putting all this information out, because these cats need to be protected.

The website is constantly updated with material that explains how these cats survive in our conditions."

So there you have it folks, if you have any information get in touch with Neil, he is a leading authority on this issue.

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