Dateline: 20th January 2012
The Beast of Stroud Adds to Its Tally
The alleged 'beast' of Stroud - thought by some to be either a panther or puma - has been alleged to have taken 3 roe deer during January. The first - discovered by walkers near Woodchester Park on the 4th - had been eviscerated, with major organs missing from its body, and other signs that experts say indicate the work of a big cat.
A woman walking between Whiteway and Rendcomb in Gloucestershire discovered a second carcass on the 17th. Between her discovering the relatively intact body and returning to photograph it, the deer had been gutted down to the spine.
The third carcass was found on a building site near Cooper's Edge by Mike Gorry who told the press:
“It was big so something large must have killed it, although I’m no expert.”
A professor of life sciences from Warwick University took saliva samples from the scene of the first killing and results are expected within the next few weeks - results which, it is hoped, will establish the beast's identity.
Big cats of a size sufficient to kill a deer are not native to Britain. It is thought that many sightings and incidents can be traced back the passing of the Dangerous and Wild Animals Act, 1976. This act placed controls on the ownership of exotic animals which had become popular pets through the 60s and 70s. It is thought that many owners preferred to release their pets into the wild, rather than be subject to the conditions of the Act.
If any cats were released around that time they are likely long dead - but the continuing reports or sightings and the occasional flurry of killings suggests that a small pockets of breeding populations might have become established.
Should the DNA sample tests bear fruit, we'll be sure to let you know. For more information on the Beast of Stroud, check out our entry.
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