At first, Jon thought the animal was a stray dog, but after noting its features, he determined that it looked more like a big cat. Since he and his wife were with their son and one-year-old Labrador, they decided to turn around and walk instead to Grey Wethers stone circle. On their way, Jon said, they discovered a half-eaten deer carcass along the path, and later, when walking to their car, the family heard a disturbing roar.
We go walking on Dartmoor all the time and have done for years. We were walking up one of the tracks with wife, son and Labrador when quite far ahead I saw something which I assumed was a dog, but it looked massive.
It started walking around slowly then saw me, stood there and looked at me and then started casually walking away. I’m quite a calm character so I thought I was seeing things and remained calm as I had my dog and child with me and didn’t want to panic them.
I thought I was seeing a massive dog, but my brain knew it wasn’t as it was so bulky at the back end, the rear legs and back end were as bulky as the front end, and it looked very powerful and big. We decided to turn around as we had our one-year-old Labrador and our child with us.
We decided to walk back into the forest maybe a quarter of a mile further up and straight away my son said, ‘what’s that?’. There was a half-eaten deer carcass just off the path in the woods and in the path, there were quite a few bones about four to six inches long with broken bones from a rib cage.
We then had to walk through thick woodland to get back to the car and while we were walking, we heard a roar. We thought we were going mad.
Reports of anomalous big cats are relatively common in the UK, with several high profile sightings reported within the last several years, including a witness who recorded a video of a dark-colored animal crossing a field in the Tynedale district of Northumberland, a mysterious black animal appearing in the background of Good Morning Britain, one witness who claimed their dog had been attacked by a “large cat” while they were out walking in Birstall, a woman in Cumbria who shared a series of photos featuring an animal that many believe to be a puma, the image of a “large wildcat with big claws” shared by a man in Cambridge, and two reports of a large, anomalous black cat that came out of North West Leicestershire.
Experts question the existence of a population of true big cats in Britain, especially a breeding population. Any such animals that are recovered, like the puma found in Scotland in 1980, are largely blamed on an escaped or released pet that had been kept illegally—although hardline skeptics explain most sightings away as domestic cats that are seen near to a viewer but are misinterpreted as larger animals seen farther away and refuse to accept even the idea of exotic pet ownership to explain the phenomenon.
In contrast, certain cryptozoologists believe that Britain has secretly supported a population of leopards, or some other species of large feral feline, for thousands of years—an idea that is supported by folklore stretching back to the beginning of recorded history.
Most recently, a DNA test ordered as part of an upcoming documentary investigating sightings of anomalous big cats in the UK, Panthera Britannia Declassified, may have provided crucial evidence in favor of their existence.
According to documentary filmmaker Matthew Everett, strands of black animal hair were found on a barbwire fence following a sheep attack on a farm in Gloucestershire.
The hair was reportedly sent to a forensic laboratory, which has requested anonymity, and analyzed using mitochondrial DNA methods to ascertain a 99.9% match to the leopard species Panthera Pardus.