HAWKS Green residents have been told to be on their guard after several eyewitnesses claimed to have spied the mysterious Chase big cat prowling near residential areas.
The warnings come at a time when sightings of the cat have rocketed and ramblers have encountered several stripped deer carcasses and strange paw prints over the Chase.
Earlier this month big cat experts said the existence of a big cat over the expansive forestland was a real possibility.
Chase lorry driver Antony Todd warned residents of Hawks Green to be on their guard after claiming to have spied the Chase panther prowling near homes in Heath Hayes during the early hours.
The dispatch driver who works for TNT, said he saw a big cat near by the former Maymies nightclub in Hawks Green, at around 5am on January 9.
The driver first believed he was seeing a deer, but changed his opinion when he saw the creature’s dark colouring and long tail.
He says he was shocked at how near the beast was to residential development.
“I was shocked at what I was seeing,” the 45 year-old told The Post.
“I have driven on that stretch of road hundreds of times and
never seen anything before.
“At first I thought it was a deer, it was by the old Maymies nightclub, but as I got closer I noticed its long tail.
“I went across the road right in front of me.
“I am not saying it was the big cat, a panther
or whatever, but it was definitely something I had never seen before.
“What concerned me was how close it was to residential development.
“There are houses all along that road.”
Resident Alan Howarth, who also regularly drives through the Hawks Green area, saw what he thought was the big cat.
“I definitely saw something strange in the fields near to the disused units,” he said.
“I am not a believer of big cats or anything like that, but I definitely saw something strange. At first I thought it was black dog.
“But as I got closer I saw it was moving weirdly and had a long black tail. It was very strange.”
Big cat expert Neil Arnold, of Kent Big Cat Research, said he was in no doubt
panthers and other big cats are loose in the UK.
“It’s time the public, especially sceptics, realised that large exotic cats are nothing unusual in our countryside any more - and that the only mystery is that they’ve become a mystery,” he said.
Mr Arnold claims the cats have gradually been released over decades from private collections and travelling menageries resulting in today’s population.
But he played down the threat to humans from the beasts.
“These cats are not a threat to humans, as there is so much prey out there in the wilds, from rabbits to deer and from birds to livestock, but such animals must be taken seriously,” he said.
Article Link from 15-01-2009