Mum shocked by big cat sighting

A FRESH sighting of the mystery black panther that has stalked NorfolK for years has been reported - in the village that was named the county's big cat hotspot two years ago.

A FRESH sighting of the mystery black panther that has stalked NorfolK for years has been reported - in the village that was named the county's big cat hotspot two years ago.

Louisa Allen, who lives at Hevingham, near Aylsham, said she was shocked to see the animal just 25ft from her house, and that she saw it so clearly she had no doubt it was a panther.

“When I saw it I called to my son Jacob to ask if he'd let the dog out, but he said it was with him. Then he ran through and we watched it together,” explained the dressmaker, who was preparing for a fitting when the incident happened yesterday morning.

“It was completely black with a very long distinctive downward-curving tail. It was about the size of a labrador but it looked nothing like one. It was much longer in the body and it walked like a cat.”


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Mrs Allen said that she had heard of similar sightings in the area, but never thought she would see something like this herself.

In 2006, Hevingham was named Norfolk's big cat hotspot after more than half a dozen sightings of a large black cat in and around the village were reported to the national organisation Big Cats in Britain.

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In 2007, BCIB logged 675 sightings nationally - more than two a day - with 23 in Norfolk.

RSPCA spokesman Sophie Wilkinson said: “Although we don't get many calls, we hear about a lot of these sightings. It is theoretically possible that it could be a big cat, but we have never seen any proof.”

Bob Engledow, who used to run Operation Big Cat, monitoring sightings of wild pumas, panthers and lynx, said: “From the number of sightings we had over the years, there are definitely big cats out there. Some people have admitted releasing them after the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act was introduced.”

The act made it illegal to keep big cats without a licence, but attached such stringent conditions that many owners could not afford to obtain one.

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