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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

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'Black panther' spotted in field near Carlisle - claim

A bus driver has spoken of the moment he spotted what he believes may have been a large black panther in a field a few miles north of Carlisle.

Big cat field photo
Steven Allison by the field

Steven Allison, 32, saw the wildcat – about the height of an adult rottweiler dog – as he was driving towards Rockcliffe village shortly before 8am on Tuesday.

It is the first time since October 2009 that anybody in the city has reported seeing a wild cat on the loose in or near Carlisle.

Steven, from Firlands, Stanwix, said: “I was driving towards Rockcliffe, about half a mile away from the village, down a section of road that turns to the right and I suddenly saw this thing in the field right ahead.

“It was lying down, and it certainly wasn’t a small animal. When it heard the bus it stood up, startled, and stared for a moment, and then sprinted off towards the end of the field.

“Absolutely everything about it was feline. Its black tail was curled, and if I’d been next to it would have come up past my knees in height. Its coat was black and shiny. I obviously startled it. Afterwards, you start to question yourself, but I know what I saw.

“At the time, my feeling was more one of fascination, but there was no way I would have got off the bus.”

George Scott, from the Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Centre near Wigton, said he would not discount the possibility that a panther-like creature could survive in the English countryside. He said: “There are so many reports of these things.

“You’d imagine that one or two of them have to be right. I certainly wouldn’t discount it as a possibility.”

In October 2009, staff at Carlisle’s dental centre near the Cumberland Infirmary reported seeing a large puma-like creature prowling on nearby waste ground.

Have you spotted the Rockcliffe wildcat? Do you have a picture of it?

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