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Animal expert believes they've solved UK big cat sightings

Animal expert believes they've solved UK big cat sightings

Could this finally explain it?

Over recent months, there's been a spate of big cat sightings in the UK.

Anxiety levels of families up and down the country have risen after a number of black wild cats were seen roaming leafy suburbs.

But while mums and dads have been petrified for the safety of their offspring, one expert says they've got nothing to worry about.

Far from being an invasion of black panthers in Blighty, a former zookeeper believes the culprit is a creature that most of us are already pretty familiar with, kind of.

Big cat sightings may not be all they seem.
Dragonfly Films

Hayley de Ronde told the Star she thinks people have actually been seeing the super rare melanistic fox.

She told the outlet that there are over 400 black foxes roaming the streets and countryside.

"If somebody believes they have seen a big cat more often than not it's going to be a more regular animal," de Ronde claimed.

"If they are adamant they have seen a big cat then there's a high chance that it might be a fox instead – that they did see something unusual but it isn't quite what they thought."

According to Black Foxes UK, the animal is pretty rare for the UK.

However, over the past few years, there's been a rise in melanistic traits in the UK fox population, with more and more of the black foxes being spotted.

But de Ronde also said that other animals have been confused for big cats too, not just these rare foxes.

Could the black fox explain the big cat sightings in the UK?
Getty

"Once you point it out to people what it is [foxes] they suddenly see what you're seeing," she said.

"They're not only foxes – they can be dogs, cats, I believe a few cows get confused."

Documentary makers previously claimed to have found the 'clearest' photo of wild big cat in the UK.

The image, as shown in the award-winning documentary Panthera Britannia Declassified, showed a large, muscular black panther-like cat lying in long grass in Smallthorne, Staffordshire.

It was found in the files of a zoology organisation and was marked 'March 17', but no year was listed.

If the photo is real, experts say it is 'probably the best photo of a British big cat that exists'.

The image was featured in the documentary, alongside several other potential pieces of evidence supporting the existence of big cats in the British countryside.

The picture was unearthed by the assistant director of a centre for zoology when he was working in their archives.

“The photo is unambiguous, it is clearly a large cat of the Panthera genus, and it’s so clear we can even see its whiskers," he said.

''But it does state the photo was taken and if it’s genuine, then it’s the probably the best photo of a British big cat that exists.”

I can feel those anxiety levels rising again...

Featured Image Credit: Panorama FIlms/@blackfoxes

Topics: Animals, UK News, Science