Tracking UK Big Cats in Cornwall

Saturday, 21 August 2010 15:51


Posted by Ashley Cawley

Off to Gluvian Farm I went, in search of this big black cat. Greeted by Mike Sterling he gave me the low-down on what and where they had seen these cats. Right from the farm-shop door you could look across the valley onto two sloping fields, as Mike pointed to show me where they had seen the cats we instantly saw a dog sized animal prowling amoungst the grass, we couldn't believe it, typical my camera is still in the car! Mike quickly grabbed a pair of binoculars and we took a gander; it's a fox! Wink

Mike explained to me that numerous people had seen the cats recently, both through binoculars, magnified through a rifle scope and not just seeing 1 but 2 cats together! Across the valley where the cats had been spotted wasn't Gluvian Farm land, but Mike had already got us permission from the land-owner to take a stroll and look for this mysterious "Mawgan beast".

uk-big-cat-tracksI had with me; my video-camera and a quick reference guide I put together on big-cat tracks, which is avaliable to download on the right:

And Mike had his trusty shotgun, just in case Surprised

Primarily I was looking for any unusal tracks, scat or kills. I wasn't realy expecting to have a sighting on the first outing and unfortunately it was a dry summers day (making tracking a little trickier). I didn't find any interesting signs, just a few signs of fox, sheep & rabbit.

The time we spent on the hill-side was short and what I would like to do next time is to be more thourough and spend a lot more time up there. I have yet to speak to the land-owner and secure access for myself, I will contact him soon and hopefully I'll be able to spend a lot more time up there looking.

Armed with my camera, I would be tickled just to get some photos of unusal tracks etc. let alone a shot of a big cat itself Smile

I have been doing some research into local sightings of this black cat (around St Mawgan / Mawgan-Porth) and have found that there is a history of sightings throughout the area, from what I've heard so far these sightings cover the past 12 years, with plenty of people who have seen it or know of people who have seen it. Even RAF officials have gone on record as seeing the beast on the RAF Base / Airfield.

Has anyone else out there had a big-cat sighting or found an unusal track or kill? Let me know in the comments...

Comments (20)
20 Saturday, 17 August 2013 20:58
john ripley four lanes cornwall
my partner and daughter were sitting by lake colliford in warm sunshine when a large cat as big as a labrador got up from sunning itself and calmly walked away. we went and searched for tracks and photographed a large print. we think its an animal called a jaguarundi
19 Monday, 14 March 2011 20:37
I live in Pembrokeshire, I;ve never seen a Big Cat, but some time ago I got up to go to the bathroom in the early hours of the morning, and while I was in there I heard the most unearthly scream coming from somewhere across the fields. It was definitely not a fox or a barn owl, I've heard those often enough to know what they sound like, this sounded exactly like the cougars that you hear screaming in Western films. It sent a shiver up my spine and for several weeks afterwards I wouldn't let my dogs outdoors on their own after dark, if they HAD to go out I accompanied them armed with a torch and a BIG stick !

Nobody else in the area seemed to have heard it, but at that time of night there probably weren't many people awake, most people seem to go to bed early around here :)
18 Sunday, 27 February 2011 00:10
Not a Village Idiot!
Hi, it's my future in-laws that have sighted the 'large cat' in Mawgan Porth. I love them dearly, but as a teacher and with my BSc, I always believe there is a scientific/sensible solution. I have equine youngstock, and have lived in the local area - stretching to 15 miles. I have had many people tell me about how they have had sightings of a large cat... some even have a plaster cast of a footprint, but being skeptical, I wondered why they (cats) were not attacking youngstock. After these sightings in Mawgan, (and before Ashley went up), we had a look in the area. There were no 'dens' but evidence of bird kills. Three months later and I saw a 'large black cat' (compared to the nearby gate) with my own eyes in the same area. If the government accepted that there were wild cats then they would be liable. Work it out for yourself!
17 Monday, 27 September 2010 13:32
Hi All of you lovely non believers. Their are reports coming into us everyday in regard to sightings from perfectley logical people. Strand tests were photographed and were positively identified recentley in North devon. Their are a lot of things on the Planet you cannot see in the UK they do however exist.
Crocodiles have recentley been found in the River Lea . Herts. 4 Caimans in the downstairs of a converted bungalow. I could go on. The objective to keeping record of the sightings is a voluntary public service. One day they may just be needed in the interest of public safety. Cats are prolific breeders 2 big cats dumped years ago if they were a breeding pair would soon create a lot of cats. The big cats do not form colonies like ferals they disperse into their own territories and live as solitary creatures only coming together at breeding time.It would be very easy to avoid the general public.I have seen a picture of a Lynx on the moors in the UK the picture is not a hybrid or designer cat. Please feel free to keep up to date on my blog spot I am the rep for Cornwall.
Ashley you asked a question on truffles. I believe they do not grow in the Uk as in France. They would be specialized planting here requiring sterile soil.
16 Sunday, 26 September 2010 17:59
Sorry Ash I am still a none believer. When i here the term big cat I assume somethink the size of a Jaguar/Panther not a variant of a domestic cat, however it would be good to find somethink Jaguar/Panther size! and yes Elvis is still dead.
15 Sunday, 26 September 2010 10:05
Ashley Cawley
Chris, have you read my other post on big cats? There have infact been big-cats killed here in the UK in road accidents and being shot.
14 Sunday, 26 September 2010 07:27
I have worked on Bodmin Moor for the past 15 years, mainly in the evening with a night vision device and I have never seen a glimpse. I am also Tracker trained and have never seen any sign either. I would like to some evidence to confirm the sightings, until then I am a non believer and yes Elvis is dead.
13 Friday, 24 September 2010 15:09
Hi Ashley and Peter. Have you thought of joining BCIB or does Peter already have a membership with them. If not they would be very interested in your sightings. I have already contacted the Cornwall sighting on behalf of the BCIB as I am the Cornwall area representative .. More cams are needed in all areas, I am about to place one in a Cornish big cat hotspot. They would certainly appreciate cams in Wales.
12 Thursday, 23 September 2010 17:10
hi ashley i have been tracking big cats up here in north wales for the last 3 years iv seen 2 last year and found some dens that thay use loads of sheep kills all around this woodlands i stop in well untill the game keeper got me with one of his pheasants in my bag lol i am just waiting on some snow then i am off up there again if you or anyone fancys coming along just give us a shout you will be very welcome.
11 Friday, 10 September 2010 15:00
Ashley Cawley
No, sorry. Work has kept me heaving lately :( - I haven't had any decent time to sit on the land for any duration.
10 Friday, 10 September 2010 14:54
Any further news Ashley
9 Sunday, 05 September 2010 14:50
Hi Ashley. Not stalking you. I have joined the BCIB as a researcher for the S/E Cornwall/Cornwall area trying to prove the existance of big cats in the Uk and would appreciate any further info if you get any.:)
8 Wednesday, 01 September 2010 11:10
Ashley Cawley
Hi Mayday, Unfortunately I haven't had much time to dedicate to it lately :( Been really busy. I will report back with further news as soon as I've been out for a stalk.
7 Wednesday, 01 September 2010 10:48
Hi Ashley. How is the cat tracking progressing.
6 Sunday, 29 August 2010 11:04
Hi Ashley, How are you getting along with the permissions.
5 Friday, 27 August 2010 17:52
Hi Ashley. I shall be following this post with great interest. :)
4 Friday, 27 August 2010 10:08
Ashley Cawley
Yes it is a recent sighting. I don't yet know the size of their territory, it'll depend on what big-cat your dealing with. I would love to find any trace, tracks, hair etc. I'm still working on getting permission to access the land on my own.
3 Friday, 27 August 2010 09:19
Trouble making last post. I'm Cornwall based
Is this a recent sighting..
I was soooo excited to read about the testing of fur that had been found in Huddersford Wood by CZS and found to be that of a Black Leopard.
A few years ago it was rumoured that fur had been found in the St Keyne area after a reported sighting. However nothing came of it so it was put down to a crowd puller.
Do you happen to know the possible range of their territory.
2 Wednesday, 25 August 2010 21:37
Ashley Cawley
Hi Ben, Yeah that would be most helpful if you could! :)

As you can see from my previous blog-post there have infact been big uk cats killed in road-traffic accidents and after all it wouldn't be your vehicle you'd be damaging now would it? ;)
1 Saturday, 21 August 2010 18:31
hi i am living in cornwall and often travel in the area you mentioned as part of my job as a delivery driver, i will let you know if i see or hear anything of interest.
yvComment v.1.21.1