Black panther fear is rampant in Gloucestershire after walker captures ‘big cat’ prowling on camera
- The animal was spotted in the forest in the village of Thrupp near Stroud
- An expert on big cats has suggested that the animal has the characteristics of a black panther
- Comes amid a wave of reported sightings of cougars in rural Wales
Experts have suggested that a black panther could be walking around after a walker saw a ‘big cat’ on camera.
The animal was seen yesterday morning in the woods in the village of Thrupp near Stroud in Gloucestershire.
Frank Tunbridge, who has spent decades researching big cat sightings in rural Britain, claimed that the “sleek” animal “has all the characteristics of a black panther.”
The creature was spotted in fields just outside Stroud yesterday at around 11 a.m. and the man who created the image is ‘convinced’ that the animal was a big cat
Big cat expert says the ‘sleek’ animal ‘has all the characteristics of a black panther’
The Black Panther: Marvel Superhero or Cryptid?
A ‘black panther’ is not its own kind – it is an umbrella term that refers to any large cat with a black coat.
A black panther is a large cat (of any kind, but usually a jaguar or a leopard) whose color is completely black.
Melanism is most common in jaguars, where it is due to a dominant gene mutation, and leopards, where it is due to a recessive gene mutation.
Close examination of one of these black cats will show that the typical markings are still there, and are simply hidden by the excess black pigment melanin.
In North America, the term panther is often used for the cougar; in Latin America it is usually used to mean a jaguar. Elsewhere in the world it refers to the leopard.
The name may have come from the Latin name Panthera for the big cats and was probably shortened from Black Panthera to Black Panther.
The condition is caused by the agouti gene, which regulates the distribution of black pigment in the hair shaft, according to the University of California.
A melanistic black leopard, or “black panther”, is the most common form of black panther in captivity and has been selectively bred for decades as exhibits or exotic pets.
A black panther (leopard) can hunt and kill animals that weigh more than 1,350 pounds more than them.
Black leopards are found in densely forested areas of southwest China, Burma, Assam and Nepal; and other parts of southern India and are said to be common in Java and the southern part of the Malay Peninsula, where they may outnumber spotted leopards.
They are less common in tropical Africa, but have been reported from Ethiopia, the forests of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares.
There are no verified cases of truly melanistic cougars.
Black cougars have been reported in Kentucky, Kansas, and eastern Nebraska.
These are known as the North American Black Panther (NABP).
No one has ever been photographed or shot in the wild, and none has been bred.
There is a broad consensus among breeders and biologists that the animal does not exist.
The animal was seen in a tree-lined field near Stroud by the viewer, who says he was only 100 meters away when he captured the photo on his phone.
The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “I’m not sure what the animal was, but it was certainly a feline in its movement.
‘My first thought was that it was a family dog that got out, so at first I wasn’t scared at all, but once I realized what it could be I took a few pictures and quickly retired.
‘I’ve never seen such an animal, but it seems likely that a big cat was roaming the countryside.
“It seemed to be playful and completely oblivious to me in the minute or so that I was observing it.”
Experts recently suggested that cougars were behind a wave of sheep death in Wales, after examination of the corpses revealed they had been ‘clinically’ killed – as opposed to a random dog attack.
Since November, a series of reports have been made to the Puma Watch North Wales group.
A farmer found seven sheep slaughtered in his Snowdonia field, while other farmers in the area also expressed concern about how their livestock had been killed.
Large claw marks have also been discovered – up to six feet above the ground – on trees. Big cats are thought to do this to sharpen their claws and warn other predators.
Big cat lover Frank Tunbridge has been studying the animals for about 25 years.
Mr. Tunbridge believes big cats were released in the UK during and after the Dangerous Animals Act enacted in 1976.
The 73-year-old from Podsmead in Gloucester said: ‘This photo has all the hallmarks of an Asian melanistic black leopard, also known as a black panther.
The long tail with a small tuft at the end is typical of leopards.
However, this photo reveals a creature that has adapted to life and hunt fast-moving deer in the UK.
It’s sleek, sleek, leggy, with a small head, but still an efficient predator that has the tools for the job, with the teeth and claws.
This particular type of British big cat, like the one in the photo, reflects at least 80 percent of the sightings I’ve received over the years and, if it is real, she now values either the natural adaptation of a species , or a hybrid animal that now breeds faithfully and lives and breeds within the British Isles. ‘
The eyewitness added: “I have heard that there have been similar sightings in the Stroud area. I decided I had to take the picture because I didn’t think anyone would believe me.
‘Two colleagues were with me but did not see the animal with their own eyes as they were working a few meters from me, they did not believe the photos.
“I don’t plan to find the creature again, but I do work in the area regularly, so I’ll make sure I have my sanity about me.”
The real deal: A ‘black panther’ isn’t actually its own kind – it’s an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat
Similar sightings of ‘big cats’ have been reported in the area over the years.
In 2018, Guillaume Lyons claims he saw a big cat on the towpath just up the road from this sighting, in Brimscombe.