Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Black Beast of Exmoor

Sightings of the animal go back to the early 1970s when people in Devonshire reported it. In 1983, the feline was killing livestock and frightening people. Over 100 farm animals Eric Ley owned in South Molten were killed.
The London Daily Express offered a reward for the killing or capture of the beast. Marine riflemen were sent to the area to try to kill the animal to stop the slaughter of livestock. The attacks stopped while they there. Some of the soldiers saw the beast, but none was able to shoot it. After the troops left, the attacks started again.
Most of those who saw the beast said it looked like a black panther. Others said it looked like a puma. Some said they saw two cats, a panther and a puma, roaming the fields together.
Trevor Beer, a naturalist claimed to have had an encounter with the beast in 1984. It walked out of the brush and stared at him, then it turned and dashed back into the woods.
In 1988, a farmer saw a huge black feline running at an incredible speed. In December 1991, a farm family watched a large feline that looked like a panther as it stalked the land near their house. A few weeks later, the son saw the animal climb a tree.
The Beast of Exmoor has been photographed. Some of the pictures clearly show a black panther. It is not possible to identify the animal in others.
It is possible that some of those who saw the beast misidentified it. Perhaps it was a large dog or a feral cat whose size people misjudged.
The beast could have been a former pet set free or an escapee from a home, zoo or circus. There were no big cats reported as escaped when the Beast of Exmoor roamed.
Di Francis theorized that the big cats have secretly lived in Great Britain since the prehistoric era, but this has been rejected by zoologists.
Another possibility is that big cats who were set free have bred and they and their descendents live in Britain.

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