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Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Wednesday, 29 August 2012 09:34 UK

Do big cats really exist in the UK?

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Reports of a suspected lion on the loose in Essex over the weekend were eventually dismissed by police - but sightings of big cats regularly make the headlines when the weather turns hot.

Stephen Harris, professor of environmental sciences at Bristol University, who has investigated a number of reports, said that the sightings are most likely of "big feral cats".

"Most of them are not that different in appearance to your domestic cat, you may not notice them, but some of them are getting surprisingly large," he told the Today programme.


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