DNA evidence confirms wild black panthers, lions and tigers in the UK

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by SarahEllard, May 11, 2023.

  1. SarahEllard Registered Member

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    https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/worl...5bd65ebd3f140d8963cd06ffde68434&ei=21#image=4

    https://metro.co.uk/2023/05/11/dna-...stence-of-black-panthers-in-britain-18766763/

    DNA from a black hair caught on a barbwire fence following a sheep attack has offered 'definitive proof' big cats are roaming the British countryside.

    The strands were sent off for testing after being recovered from a farm in Gloucestershire where there had been some 'unusual predatory' activity.

    Suspicion was raised when video footage of a large black animal was also captured only a few miles away from where the sample was taken.

    And documentary-makers, who had been investigating sightings across the UK, say the test has now come back 'positive' and confirmed the existence of black panthers and other big cats living in the UK.

    A forensic laboratory took on the species identification task and used mitochondrial DNA analysis to ascertain a 99 per cent match to a big cat species.

    The findings have come to light as part of filming for an upcoming documentary -Panthera Britannia Declassified - which investigates claims of big cat sightings in Britain.
     
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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  5. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Every summer we get these stories in the British press, as part of the "Silly Season". It seems to have started a bit earlier than usual this year.

    All there is in these pieces is one sample of black hair, allegedly analysed by " a forensic lab", without any details of what lab and whether it has been corroborated. There is in particular no justification for claiming that "black panthers and other big cats" are living in the UK.

    The assertions are made by a video production company with a film to sell. They have evidently issued a press release, which has been picked up by a number of local newspapers and websites, since all of them are quoting the same words.

    Let's see this properly checked before we all start hyperventilating.
     
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently this isn't even the first positive DNA claim. If the 2011 one by Durham University didn't settle anything, then this one probably won't either. Especially if it's associated with a similarly titled "Centre for Fortean Zoology". Even the carcass of a less rare or endangered cat could be planted.

    DNA_evidence
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_big_cats#DNA_evidence

    (2011) Exclusive: Experts have DNA proof big cats are still living in Westcountry
    https://web.archive.org/web/2012030...-cats-living/story-13169998-detail/story.html

    CFZ also revealed that hairs found in woods near Woolfardisworthy had been positively identified as those of a leopard. “We had them DNA tested by Durham University and they confirmed they were leopard. This is proof that there was, as of last summer, at least one leopard apparently wild in the woodlands of North Devon,” said Mr Downes.“

    [...] "We are not making outrageous claims,” he told the WMN. “We are not talking about sabre-toothed tigers or Loch Ness Monsters. That’s all nonsense. We are simply saying an animal can live here and adapt to the natural conditions.”

    _
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2023
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  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Hmm, the Centre for Fortean Zoology does not exactly inspire confidence.

    There's obvious scope here for errors, or even hoaxes (getting a sample of puma hair and claiming to have found it on a barbed wire fence). I continue to find it remarkable that if such big cats are present there is not by now a significant body of evidence: paw prints, faeces - which can be analysed for DNA, sightings by multiple witnesses and so forth. Yet every summer we get breathless stories in the press, usually accompanied by pictures of what is clearly a domestic cat, shot from low angle to make it look big.
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    My opinion is the same as last time -

    There are repeated sighting of big cats in the UK which may or may not point to the existence of big cats there. (We can't just dismiss that possibility with a sneer.)

    But I think that it's unlikely that there is a healthy breeding population of them. My guess is that if they do exist, they are probably captive animals brought into the country (perhaps illegally) as juveniles to be exotic pets, then escaped to go feral.

    http://sciforums.com/threads/is-the...on-of-leopards-in-the-uk.164559/#post-3680782"]Is there a healthy breeding population of leopards in the UK?
     
  10. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    That would be cool though. I wonder when the last native big cats did disappear from the UK.
     
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I think I'll wait until somebody produces the body of one of these British panthers or something, before I'll buy into the "big cats roam around Britain" tales.
     
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed. It can't of course be ruled out that some large felines have at some point escaped from captivity somewhere and bred. But it is remarkable how little concrete evidence there is, compared with the frequency of the annual stories in the press, during the Silly Season.

    This is in fact our poster's second bite at this subject. See the previous thread here: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/is...ding-population-of-leopards-in-the-uk.164559/ which went into it a bit (until Write4U turned up to derail it as usual with irrelevant stuff he had found on the internet).

    One of the points made was the range of territory needed to support big cats and the likelihood that, if they were present, traces would have been spotted, given the relatively dense degree of human population in the southwestern British Isles.

    Also it may not be entirely coincidental that that previous thread, like this one, was also stimulated by somebody with a documentary film to sell.
     
  13. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    Leopards and Mountain Lions aren't easy to spot, especially in urban environments where they are nocturnal. The Scottish Wildcat is native to the UK, but going extinct.
     
  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    The Scottish wild cat is a tabby about the site of a domestic cat, and can interbreed with it. And it is found at the other end of the country.
     

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