There have been a raft of fresh sightings of the Cannock Chase beast in recent weeks – with readers reporting sightings of an elusive Panther-like creature.
“I definitely saw a Panther-like cat, jet black, about 15m-20m in front of me between Chase Road and Ansons Bank car park,” reported one Cannock resident Stephen Hill.
“I had a clear view of it before it disappeared into the undergrowth. I went closer to try to see it, but did not go too close because I feared for my own safety.”
Another resident said: “I saw an animal that I did not recognise. It was very compact – stocky even – with a strong, sturdy body, head, and legs.”
Eye-witness reports continue to roll in, but there are those who are far more sceptical.
Derek Crawley, chairman of Staffordshire Mammal Group, said: “For years there have been reports of Big Cats on the Chase. However, if these animals were successfully surviving in the wild, it would be practically impossible not to encounter them more frequently.”
So are people just letting their imaginations run wild? Perhaps what Cannock residents are seeing are large dogs.
This fits with one account we received: “I saw a creature roughly the size of an Alsatian, kind of like a greyhound.”
Chase Rangers believe the public are, in fact, seeing Muntjac Deer, which are dog-sized.
Mr Crawley, however, hasn’t completely discounted claims that there is a panther on the loose. He added: “If anybody is convinced that they have seen a mysterious creature, please report it, so that we can investigate, and find evidence as to what might possibly be lurking in the bushes.”
Many Big Cats, such as Panthers, were kept as pets until the Dangerous Animals Act came into force in 1976, making it an offence to actually own them.
Could it be what residents are seeing are direct descendents of Big Cats whose owners released them into the wild when the law was changed? If so, then there is another mystery to resolve.
John Plant, from Cheslyn Hay, reported seeing a large creature with a snout – and he’s not the only one. Now if these reports are true, could it be Wild Boar have descended on the Chase?
Article Link from 29-04-2011
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