Sunday, 15 January 2012

Big cats in UK

Big cats in UK.     The discussion has come around again, about whether there are big “big cats” loose around UK. There has never been one found dead or died, but then you never seem to find dead deer or dead badgers other than road kill.

 There is so called evidence of sheep being killed and half eaten, and it had to be something big to have done that.

There is sure to be the odd escapees from zoo’s and private premises, but whether there is any actually breeding in the wild in UK has never been proved.

 My own experience in 1992 in a field of twenty five eighteen month old store cattle standing in the middle of a sixteen acre field one frosty morning. They were just standing in the centre of the field in a tight huddle at first light, and from the distance the steam was rising off them in the still morning air.

Every morning they come down to the buildings to have their feed of silage, and they all come as soon as they see the tractor moving about the yard. On this particular morning they would not move, and after another half hour I went up to call them again and right up to the group. It was obvious they were thoroughly traumatised and tried to drive them, but all they did was to mill round with no one beast wanting to take the lead.

They were still steaming an hour later, and decided to take a ring feeder and the silage up to them; although they would be hungry none of them would touch the feed.

 I then had a look round the field to see what had upset them so much, there was skidding hoof marks all around ripping up the wet winter turf, then at the top of the field the fence between me and my neighbour was flat down. It was a length of about ten posts smashed down where they had been stampeded through, then further along the same again only a similar smashed length of fence where they had come back. All knocked down in the direction they were stampeding.

It was a sound boundary fence of a stout oak stakes every five paces with sheep netting and two strands of barbed wire along the top, it was all tight and sound, none of this fencing that looks like a washing line that sags and swings in the wind.

On driving on the tractor back on the route the cattle take back to the building, I found some more wire and posts flattened. All my work that day was repairing and tightening the wire and netting up to new stakes. All day the cattle stood on what was now a muddy circle, still confused and disorientated refusing to break from the huddle although they had stopped steaming by late afternoon. They had not had water all day though they knew there was plenty of water was only fifty yard away in a dew pond.

The cattle were still in a similar circle the following morning but now round the ring feeder but still no evidence of them having been to water, they had only ”pecked” at the silage, no meaningful eating as they would otherwise would do. They did spread out and go for water by late the second day and it was three more days I had to feed them up by that pond, (the pond is in the centre of the field).

The cattle were stampeded round there own field, and run blindly through the top end fence, then on round the neighbours field back through the wire fencing into their own field. There is sheep netting round the boundary and that normally keeps dogs out, but this was something I had never seen before. These were not young calves, but strong growing bullocks and heifers of eighteen months old, they were almost in a trance, shaking and sweating, and every one of the bunch were the same.  They would not even look out from the huddle they were in, and just turned in a circle when we tried to move them. In fact it was impossible to move them.

You only hear tales about big cats on the loose, and it certainly was something bigger than the normal village dog to have done that to them. That is the only time I have ever considered could it possibly have been a BIG CAT.

More general discussions on big cats currently on the Farmers Weekly forums January 2012

1 comment:

  1. Extremely interesting.It would only be speculation, but there are not many animals that would frighten a herd like that. I suspect you are right that it was a Big Cat. They are out there, despite the non-believers.