Frank Tunbridge has been studying big cats for 25 years
A Gloucestershire big cat expert says he isn’t surprised by a recent increase in sightings of the elusive creatures in an urban part of Gloucester.
Two large black cats were reportedly spotted by a milkman in Hempsted last week.
Frank Tunbridge, who has been studying the creatures for more than 25 years, says the sightings were not unexpected:
“During the summer time and spring you have a lot of young deer about, and deer are big cats’ preferred prey.
“They have a lot of meat on them and last a long time. One big effort in pulling down a deer will save them a lot of effort chasing rabbits and pheasants.
“There are quite of lot of deer living around this area. They’ve been spotted up at Hempsted tip.
These animals come along and forage through the gardens.
Frank Tunbridge, big cat expert
“But at this time of year (autumn) the animals, which are easier to catch during the summer because they are young and naive, have grown up a bit.
“Now it’s gone a bit colder so a lot of the animals are harder to catch. And the [big cats] need to become opportunistic and go round to peoples’ gardens.
“People put food out for hedgehogs, badgers, foxes and birds, so these animals come along and forage through the gardens.”
‘Living among us’
Frank Tunbridge is convinced that there are big cats on the loose in the British countryside and he’s out to find conclusive proof.
“I find it so fascinating that these creatures can be living among us almost unnoticed for most of the time,” he said.
“We don’t know what these animals out there are. We just do not know. Until we come up with a specimen we can only speculate.
“We can only compare them to species we know, and the closest they come to are leopards. They are the most abundant big cat in the world and can live anywhere.”
Anyone who spots a big cat locally can contact Frank using his Big Cat Hotline on 07711 476715.