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Big Cat Tracker Claims There's Wild Puma, Lynx And Leopards In The UK

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Big Cat Tracker Claims There's Wild Puma, Lynx And Leopards In The UK

A big cat tracker claims there are huge wild cats, including pumas and lynx, roaming around Britain.

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Rhoda Watkins has spent more than two decades investigating and learning about big cats, even spending time with the San bushmen in Namibia, who are thought to be amongst the best trackers in the world.

The 42-year-old, who lives in Cornwall, says she believes that big cats including pumas and leopards are in the wild in the UK, and even reckons there's a 'healthy breeding population'.

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Rhoda and her partner Jay Opie are set to feature in a new documentary entitled Britain's Big Cat Mystery, which aims to lift the lid on the ongoing claims about the animals being spotted in the UK.

Rhoda, who was born in South Africa, said: "I have studied the behaviour of animals, including prey species and big cats, and see things with a tracking mindset.

''There is just too much evidence out there that cannot be anything other than big cats.

"There is a lot of nonsense around sightings of domestic cats and dogs, but all the signs are there is a decent-sized population out there.

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Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"I spend all my time outdoors and am tracking wildlife constantly. When you do that you find other things that don't fit with the native wildlife.

"This could be tracks or footprints. On a couple of occasions I have seen kills with carcasses you could not attribute to anything other than a big cat.

"I have also spoken to so many credible witnesses who have seen similar things.

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''I have been called on a few occasions to investigate and will always take a scientific approach to it all."

Rhoda studied zoology at university and then took courses to learn how to become a tracker, before going to Namibia to learn from the best.

"They are the best trackers in the world," she said. "They are just so immersed in their surroundings they have a real feel for what is normal in their natural environment. If a big predator comes in they are acutely aware as everything reacts.

"My stalking and tracking techniques were really honed with them. They are masters at work and it was really insightful."

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Rhoda thinks big cats may have been introduced to the wilds of Britain following the introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in the 1970s - anyone who owned a big cat after then would need to apply for a special licence and she believes many didn't bother and simply released the animals instead.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

She said: "The guys who made the film spoke to a lot of people who knew cats were released when the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was introduced in 1976.

"There were scrapyards that used to use pumas as guard animals. What happened to all of these? They did not want to go for the licences or have them put down so they just let them go.

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"There are lots of people that know animals were released or escaped.

"I think given that the Act was so long ago and there are credible sightings now, there has got to be enough out there to be a breeding population. We are now seeing the offspring of those who were released.

"There are pumas, a mixture of leopards, and lynx. In fact I am going to investigate a lynx sighting this week."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Interesting, UK, Animals

Claire Reid
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