UK Big Cats - Local Sightings in Cornwall

Tuesday, 17 August 2010 22:48


Posted by Ashley Cawley

It all started when I picked up our local newspaper in our post-office, noticing on the frontpage: Alert as big cats are seen in field! and the first paragraph read: "TWO BIG cats have been sighted in a field near St Mawgan. Observers spotted the animals on two separate occasions in a field containing sheep..." I found this news quite exciting as I read on to discover the people who had seen the cats were my local trusty farm-shop (Gluvian Organics) , just a mile away from where I stood!

These are people I trust and so close to home I had to investigate! I had a chat with one of the family who kindly invited me down to show me the spot where they had spotted the big black cats. Excited at the prospect of some interesting tracking and photo opportunities I put in a little research.

Obviously people have mixed feelings as to whether these "beasts" (or exotic/alien cats) actually exist at all in the wilds of Britain, this questionability of the general public comes from the "lack of proof" or information that people know about wild UK Big Cats.

I mean most people wouldn't be happy until someone shot one would they? - "How come a big cat has never been shot or captured in Britain?" Well take this question beyond the conversation in the pub and do some research and you will find there has infact been more than one or two big cats killed in Britain!

lynx-killed-in-1991-Norfolk- 1991 - A Lynx was shot dead in Norfolk by a Devon Farmer

- 1989 - In Shropshire a Jungle Cat was fatally injured in a road crash

- 1988 - In Devon a Leopard Cat was shot

- 1988 - In Hampshire a Swamp Cat was killed crossing a road

- 1987 - On the Isle of Wight a Leopard Cat was shot

(Source: UK Big Cats)

"the fact that these cats were killed, photographed, examined and recorded is still not proof to most people as they are not aware of it ever happening."

I continued to research into to big-cat evidence and then comparing big-cat tracks to what I already knew, I put together this document as a handy reference on the day I would be exploring the site:


The following morning armed with my camera and tracks I set off for Gluvian Farm Shop to try and track down this big cat. I will post up soon about how it went.

In the meantime take a look at this quick track reference guide I put together (Click the image on the right to download PDF):

And for more information on UK Big Cats visit:

Comments (4)
4 Sunday, 25 May 2014 20:10
gem stott
we were holidaying in truro cornwall when I was around 13 years old , me and my brother were walking over sand dunes with our little poodle dog when we saw very close up what I now believe to be a caracal cat , it had little dark tufts at the top of its ears and sandy coloured fur and was bigger than our bitch ellie. we ran home and told our mother what we had seen and she told us there had been sightings of lynx in the area that year , I am now 30 years old and have been telling this story for all these years whenever I hear anything about cornwall.
3 Saturday, 03 December 2011 13:35
Having been a farmer for over 40 years and a keen hunter, I think I know the local wildlife extremely well. I have in the past 20 years had 2 sightings of something I could not explain other than a big cat. Yet the most conclusive evidence to date was whilst walking over a VERY remote cove beach to go fishing in the dark. I saw prints in the sand which came down over a fairly steep cliff onto the beach and continued over a rock and along the beach. Unfortunatley I had no camera with me, the prints looked unusually large to the point I bend down and was able to put my fist into the indentation left in the sand. There were no nail prints to the tracks at all. I have no doubt that I had come across the tracks of a large cat. This was in the far southwest of cornwall which has had many a sighting by very believable sources.
2 Tuesday, 30 August 2011 11:07
Resident St Mawgan
We have had sightings in the late evening over the last two months of a large cat like animal in our garden but none sufficiently clearly to be certain what it is. This morning we have a large scatt (pooh) on a roof of the house only accessible to a bird or cat. The scatt measures 10cm in length and 2cm diameter with rounded ends. It is firm. It is coloured pale brown with white smearing towards one end.
1 Friday, 05 August 2011 10:18
Rob Day
Over near Rumford/St Issey we have had a calf attacked in the night, with deep scratches on both sides of the animal, a large bite of the head of the calf's tail, then a bite to the side of the neck. It has been confirmed by our local vets as a big cat attack. The night before in Tredinnick, a goat was attacked again with a major bite to the side of it's neck. I reckon someone's exotic Caracal escaped sometime. People are getting scared with Creally Park being between the two attacks.
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