Is the Fens big cat back?

Black panther
Black panther

A Tydd St Giles couple believe they saw Fenland’s mysterious big cat earlier this month and fear their geese have been victim of an attack by the creature.

If Mark and Jane Burton are correct then their’s is the first sighting of the area’s big cat for several years.

The couple were walking along Black Dyke Lane in the village at around 4.30pm at the start of January when they spotted a big black cat facing them on the opposite side of a ditch.

“It was just there facing us. I think we must have surprised it, as the wind happened to be in the right direction so it would not have smelt us coming. It was really big but all we could see was its face, ears and front legs because of the way it was standing. It was bigger than an Alsatian but I couldn’t see it’s tail. When it saw us it just disappeared into the spinney and it was gone, just like that. I think if the wind had been in the opposite direction it would have known we were there and it would have gone before we could see it,” said Mr Burton.

Then two weeks ago the Burtons, who live along the lane, found one of their geese dead, it had been badly mauled. It’s head had been ripped off and all its flesh meat had gone.

“We have geese and chickens, we always put the chickens in at night, but the geese stay out and have always been all right. We have never had any evidence of a fox, we have even put out fox traps and caught nothing.

“But I’m positive that whatever killed the goose was much more powerful than a fox. You can usually tell if a fox has been at something as they tend to pull and tug and there are feathers missing. But this one had no signs like that. I’m sure it was the big cat. A fox will usually keep coming back once it has killed, but we have had no more incidents, it’s as if it came, killed, ate and left,” said Mr Burton.

The last time there were sightings of a panther-like creature in the Tydd area was in December 2009 when Martin and Teresa Dye saw it on the A1101 between Four Gotes and Tydd Gote.

That year there were numerous sightings around the Friday Bridge, Elm and Outwell areas and Kim and Sam Flint of the now closed Woodhouse Farm Park at Friday Bridge even blamed the animal for mauling to death a pregnant ewe. A local vet at the time, said its injuries were unlikely to have been caused by a domestic animal such as a dog and also ruled out a fox.

Paw prints were spotted around several properties in the area suggesting a large cat-like creature was on the prowl. But since then there have been no reported sightings.

Previously a local woman, who tracked big game in her native South Africa, explained big cats have huge territories and tend to move about the area, which can measure 100s of square miles, which might explain why it has not been seen for a while.

Have you spotted the big cat? Contact the news desk on 01945-586135.