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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
'Big cat' excites experts
Cat sighting
The sighting is the latest in a series in the West Country
A man out for a stroll near his home has filmed what experts say is the most conclusive evidence that big cats exist in the wild in Cornwall.

Clifford Knott was walking near his home when he spotted the large animal, described as about the size of a golden retriever dog, prowling across the edge of a corn field.

Mike Thomas at Newquay Zoo said the footage was the best he had seen in 10 years of studying the phenomenon of big cats in the UK.

He said: "I think this is very exciting and people should be excited because it shows a big cat.

I never expected to find something like that
Clifford Knott

"I can't pinpoint exactly what big cat, but I would say it is certainly a fair old size and something that doesn't normally belong here.

"When we see the way that this cat moves, it is absolutely magnificent."

Mr Knott said: "I was dumbfounded when I first saw it.

"Everyone hopes they are going to walk into something like this, but I never expected to find something like that."

Secret location

Mr Thomas said it was likely the animal would remain in the area feeding on rats and mice until food runs short for a couple of weeks.

Until then, the location is being kept secret so the creature is not disturbed.

Some of the most notorious big cat sightings around the UK - including the Beast of Bodmin - have been in Cornwall.

There have also been a number of big cat sightings in south Devon, according to the Plymouth-based British Big Cats Society.

The society says that in October it will unveil proof that big cats roam the UK.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says there is no proof that big cats are roaming the British countryside.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Mike Thomas, Newquay Zoo
"When we see the way that this cat moves, it is absolutely magnificent"



SEE ALSO:
'We'll prove big cats roam UK'
19 Jul 03  |  Devon
Big cats 'on the increase'
28 Aug 02  |  UK News
Beast of Bodmin evades RAF cameras
14 Nov 99  |  UK News


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