A BIG cat enthusiast claims she has seen a wild black leopard in Cumbria and is 'actively tracking' the beast.

Sharon Larkin-Snowden has dedicated her life to the discovery of big cats in the county and now believes she has infallible evidence that proves their existence.

This evidence includes the discovery of several mutilated sheep... and Sharon actually seeing the leopard with her own eyes.

Sharon was first alerted to the existence of this alleged black leopard - also known as a panther - before Christmas 2023 and has been following its tracks every day since, however, has chosen to keep the animal's supposed location secret.

She said: "We have had quite a few reports of a leopard being seen in this area by people like gamekeepers who know what they are seeing.

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"She has been seen with a younger cub, which is probably about a year old, and people have just been coming forward with sightings in this particular area.

News and Star: The remains of a Cumbrian sheep captured by SharonThe remains of a Cumbrian sheep captured by Sharon (Image: Sharon Larkin-Snowden)

"Every day I have been up there and there has been a lot of sheep that have been killed and eaten in a way which is not dogs or foxes and very cat-like. 

"Further up the track I actually saw the leopard."

She said that 'tests' were done on the carcass which suggested predation by a panther.

She says she's not revealing the exact location of the finding - yet. "These leopards are adapting to the British countryside but I don't want people to frighten her off."

Sharon is now seeking to capture video evidence of the rogue leopard and its cub, with the Cumbrian big cat enthusiast theorising that these could be two of three leopard in the region. 

This discovery and active investigation acts as the culmination of 25 years of work done by Sharon which has all been focused on proving the existence of these big cats in Cumbria. However, she insisted that her priority is keeping the feline safe.

"I got the news just before Christmas and it was the best Christmas present ever. It is proof of leopards in the area," she said.

"I'm so excited because I have worked so hard for this but we're in her territory and it is about keeping her safe."