It seems like a lot of people are seeing mystery big cats in this first month of the new year! Here are a couple more stories reported recently.
First, from Newsport is a another story from Australia:
"ARE big cats prowling the Far North?
"A Port Douglas woman believes she may have spotted one on the Captain Cook Highway last week.
"Rosie Wang was returning to Port Douglas from Cairns at 6.30pm on January 12 when she saw 'a large tawny brown feline shape' illuminated in her headlights on the side of the road.
"'It was almost as large as the street marker that it was next to,' she said.
"'Certainly I have never seen a domestic cat that big, or indeed with light brown coloring more like a lion.'
|Photo of a big cat taken in West Gippsland, Australia, 2016|
"Rosie is not the first to come forward with a big cat sighting in North Queensland. Several accounts have been reported of a similar colored animal in the Atherton Tablelands and Ravenshoe areas, while large black cats have been seen in Upper Barron and the Daintree.
"A number of puma-like sightings were also recorded in the Gympie region last year, with one man claiming to have seen a leopard at Rainbow Beach.
"'I would be interested to see if other locals knew about this (animal) or had seen it,' Rosie said.
"'On googling this strange sight it was interesting to read about other people's experiences.'"
Then, there's this story from Essex, England (via Essex Live) :
"A shocked taxi driver in Braintree found dozens of huge paw prints after spotting what she believes was an eight-foot long black panther on the loose.
"Michelle Woodall, 49, told of her shock when she saw the big cat walking into the woods on Sunday morning (January 14).
"The mum-of-one said she had 'absolutely no doubt' her sighting in Sible Hedingham, near Braintree, was genuine adding, 'I would stake my house on it'.
"Michelle Woodall said:
"'I was just doing my hair when I looked out of the window and saw a panther-like cat.
"'It was walking along like it was in no rush, it certainly wasn't frightened of anything.
"'It was the walk that was so distinctive because obviously a dog, a cat, a fox move completely differently.
"'At that point I thought, 'go get your phone' but I was mesmerized and stayed put at the window.
"'Once you've seen it, it cannot be anything else - it just cannot and the pawprints are proof.'
"She watched the feline take up to six strides before it disappeared into the woodland footpath by the River Colne.
"The mum took her five-year-old Parson Russel Terrier, Gunner, to the spot it vanished.
"She said: 'As soon as we hit his nose went down, his tail went up and he dragged me along.
"'I knew straight away there was something special and he took me about half a mile.
"'We went just over a mile and the whole way down were pawprints.'
"Her pictures of about two dozen pawprints with a diameter of about 10cm and non-retracted claws.
"Ms Woodall said she came across them in every ten strides on the footpath to Sudbury, Suffolk.
"She added: 'I took a photo of a labrador's paw print and it was a third of the size of this cat - and it was a big labrador.
"'We have wild deer and pheasants which are perfect prey for a panther.'
|Pic of one of the prints found by|
"Ms Woodall believes Gunner lost the scent after it took them to a chicken farm which overlooked 'acres and acres' of fields.
"She said locals said they had seen the big cat in the village as well and had a 'it's been seen again attitude' when she told them of her sighting.
"'This panther was jet black. It was light and I know what I saw as does every body else,' she said.
"Two women from the village claimed they spotted a black panther on the loose in 2015.
"Jenny Ward said her 16-year-old son Jason spotted what he thought was a 'great black fox' 40ft behind her on a footpath on August 8.
"Turning round, Mrs Ward locked eyes with a black cat 'bigger than a golden retriever' which stared at the stunned pair before crouching and disappearing into woodland.
"The path, which runs beside Mrs Ward's house leads across the countryside where a black cat was spotted on the same day.
"Biodiversity Co-ordinator Mark Iley said:
"'We have had big cat reports from this are before (and elsewhere in Essex).
"'Although I'm a big skeptical about big cat sightings, it's always possible and I didn't see what Michelle saw.
"'Certainly, big cats could survive in our landscape, as there is plenty of food and they can be incredibly secretive.'
"A woman whose husband claimed to have seen the black panther in the village last October has today said she now believes a 'big cat' was on the loose.
"Zoe Newley, 45, a project manager, lives a mile from Ms Woodall in Sible Hedingham.
"Asked if she believes there was a big cat on the loose in Sible Hedingham, the mum-of-two said: 'Yes I do. I really believe it.
"'On Facebook I've messaged her to say my husband has seen something of exactly the same description.
"'With the paw prints I felt quite excited because I felt it verifies what my husband was saying, so it's interesting but we need a picture.'
"Essex Police has been contacted for comment."
There's another story from Jan. 12th, posted on Gloucestershire Live:
"When a driver was heading home to Stroud late at night past a pub immortalized in literature, the last thing she expected to see was a big cat racing alongside her car.
"But that is what the woman says she saw, as she passed The Woolpack Inn in Slad just before Christmas.
"Suspected sightings of the creatures are few and far between but Stroud is somewhat of a hot spot and she cannot explain what she saw.
"'I was driving from Oxford to Stroud on Friday, December 15 and was passing through Slad at about 11.30pm, a little after I passed The Woolpack pub, along the road into Stroud in my headlights I saw something shoot out into the road from the valley on the left,' said the Stroud woman, 31, who does not wish to be named.
"'As I approached, the creature continued across the road and started sprinting in the same direction of travel as myself.
"'I was driving at about 40 miles per hour and it was bounding along the verge on the right hand side of the road, parallel to my car.
"'Naturally I slowed a little but it was keeping up with my vehicle. After following it for two or three minutes it shot up into the fields above the road.
"'It was not a huge creature - very lean - perhaps the size of a small Labrador but the way it ran was completely different to any domestic cat I've ever seen.
"'Its tail was also low and long and it was jet black with a glossy, short, dense coat. It had a small head.'
"The valley and the pub were made famous by Laurie Lee's novel Cider With Rosie.
"She contacted Gloucestershire big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge, who documents sightings across the county and beyond.
"Although sightings are rare, there have been many in and around Stroud, particularly since deer carcasses in Woodchester and Dursley were tested for big cat DNA in 2012.
"Pictures of sightings at locations around the district have ben sent to Mr Tunrbridge, who has trail cameras set up at undisclosed spots where there have been sightings.
"Stroud mum Coryn Memory captured footage of what appears to be a big cat near Stroud in 2012.
"It was not illegal to release big cats in to the wild in Britain until 1981 and lynx, leopard cats and jungle cats have been either caught, shot or run over across the UK.
"Mr Tunbridge believes the animal that she saw could be a new kind of wild cat which is the result of crossbreeding in the UK.
"'The description is very much like the sighting Coryn made,' he said. 'It's low, black and with a small head.
"'Over the years it is possible that a big cat has evolved from the species we have here - it may not necessarily be that big but it is living wild.'"
Lastly, there's a story from The Herts Advertiser [also Jan 12th]. The St. Albans big cat may be back…:
"Luke Houghton, 18, was cycling in the area [Bricket Wood] on Monday at about 6pm when he passed by what first appeared to be roadkill.
"After taking a closer look, Luke said he is confident the remains were abandoned by a large predator.
"He said: 'I just thought it was roadkill at first, it just looked like a dead animal. But as I got close to it I saw it was a mauled deer. I was curious because it's so unusual. I've never seen something that gruesome I felt a bit ill too, it was pretty gory.'
|Killed by the St. Albans cat?|
"Only the deer's top half is intact, with meat stripped from its rib-cage and spine and its hind legs ripped off.
"Luke added: 'From the photos I don't know what else could have done that, it would not have been a fox - that was something a bit bigger than a fox.'
"He has read about big cat sightings in the Herts Ad over 2017, and believes the corpse closely resembles another carcass spotted by a dog walker in Wheathampstead in April.
"'It lines up with the photos from April - the carcass looked very similar, which is interesting.'
"A London Colney taxi driver also captured a video of what he believed was a big cat walking into some undergrowth by Napsbury Lane in the early hours.
"Large paw prints were preserved through an Aldwickbury golf bunker after a night of rain and a driver recently spotted what he believed to be big cat remains by the side of the M25.
"On top of these, members of the public have been coming forward to report sightings around the district and further afield - in Sandridge, Welwyn, Redbourn and Hatfield.
"Recently a feline enthusiast suggested the animal could be a Eurasian wild cat, which is native to Scotland and only slightly bigger than a domestic tabby.
"Herts police figures show between 2011 and 2016 there were about 30 sightings reported. They advise people keep a safe distance and call 101.
"Seen the big cat? Email email@example.com."The story of the first St. Albans cat kill can be found here.
With it not even being 1 full month into 2018, it seems like we will have a lot of anomalous big cat reports this year…
Have you seen an mystery big cat? If so, contact me in the comments...