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Tuesday, July 21, 1998 Published at 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK


'Beast of Bodmin' captured on video

Footage may show a species of wild cat previously thought extinct

Video footage of what is claimed to be the 'Beast of Bodmin' has been released.

Watch the new footage of the 'Beast of Bodmin'
The film of the black, three-and-a-half foot animal is the latest in a series of sightings.

Locals in mid-Cornwall believe the animal could be just one of a number of big cats roaming the area.

Paul Tyler, MP for North Cornwall, is submitting a dossier of evidence to the government for examination by experts.

Around 60 other big cat sightings have been recorded in the area since 1983. Experts believe there is a population of big cats in and around mid-Cornwall.

'Best evidence yet'

A government inquiry instigated by Mr Tyler three years ago failed to produce a conclusive report and prompted many people to dismiss the sightings.

"Farmers and other who had sighted the so-called 'Beast of Bodmin Moor' did not take kindly to being portrayed as gullible yokels, deluded by a trick of the light," said Mr Tyler.

In the 1995 government report, zoologists concluded there was no evidence to show big cats existed on the moor.

But Newquay Zoo curator and wild cat expert, Mike Thomas, has said the 20-second video is "the best evidence yet" of big cats roaming Bodmin Moor.

He believes the animal could be a species of wild cat which was supposed to have become extinct in Britain more than a century ago.

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