UK Residents Continue to See Large Black Wildcats, & Now Hairs Have Been Found Pointing to their Existence

UK Residents Continue to See Large Black Wildcats, & Now Hairs Have Been Found Pointing to their Existence


Authorities in the U.K. have received multiple reports of people claiming to have seen lions, pumas, leopards, and even cheetahs across the countryside over the last few decades. What is most commonly reported, however, is large, muscular black cats the size of Labrador retrievers roaming freely. But were they real or figments of overactive imaginations? That was the question.

Well, not long ago, short black hairs were discovered on a barbed-wire fence following a sheep attack in Gloucestershire, an area where sightings of big cats had been previously reported. After testing, they came back as a 99.9 percent Mitochondrial DNA match to the leopard species Panthera Pardus. Could this finally dispel the theory that previous reports were all from people tanked up on alcohol and feeling a wee bit jolly? It's looking quite possible at this point.

The hair was discovered just a few miles away from where a large black animal was previously captured on video. Documentary makers behind the film Panthera Britannia said the DNA test result came back "positive" - seemingly confirming the existence of big cats in Britain. People in Somerset, Rutland, and even South Wales have made similar claims about sightings over the years as well.

Matthew Everett, of Dragonfly Films, said: "It's taken five years for the production team to find such evidence and film its journey from collection to analysis. People in Gloucestershire and Britain have described what appear to be black leopards for decades. So, a leopard DNA result from a black hair sample is unsurprising. This is not the first such DNA result and is unlikely to be the last.

"There is a great deal of 'secondary evidence' for these cats, such as consistent witness reports, but hard evidence like DNA is hard to get, so the contribution from this documentary is very helpful.

"Collecting such evidence from local people, farmers, and landowners, is essential - Citizen Science like this will hopefully help us learn more about the Bagheera-type big cats, which may be quietly naturalizing here."

The farm in Gloucestershire where the DNA was located had two sheep killed in what was described as "an unusual manner" in the past five years, and there had been reported sightings all over the nearby countryside during that time period. In fact, they've been reported as far north as Scotland.

So, is it all an elaborate hoax perpetrated by someone with access to big cat hairs? It's unlikely with decades of the sightings unless it's some sort of massive conspiracy to dupe the public, but that hardly seems plausible unless you're into conspiracy theories.

It's also been reported that tooth pit analysis of one of the sheep carcasses, which was conducted via the Royal Agricultural University, suggested a pretty large carnivore was behind it.

Each sighting seems to have one thing in common: all of the animals have been described as very large, incredibly muscular, pitch black, and frightening.

Dragonfly Films is currently pursuing broadcast options for Panthera Britannia Declassified following the release of Panthera Britannia last year. You can watch it on Vimeo or Apple TV, Tubi (for free), or get it through Amazon.

What are your thoughts on big cats in the U.K. and how they might have got there? Let us know on our Facebook page using the hashtag #GGUKBigCats.

Rebecca West

Rebecca is a writer and editor for both print and digital with a love for travel, history, archaeology, trivia, and architecture. Much of her writing has focused on human and animal health and welfare. A life-long pet owner, she has taken part in fostering dogs for military members during deployment and given many rescued and surrendered dogs the forever home they always wanted. Her two favorite canine quotes are, "Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are," and "My dog rescued me."

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