Page revamped 30th Jan 99
RUTLAND AND LEICESTERSHIRE PANTHER WATCH
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This page features the evidence obtained from the NOV 1998 sheep kills near Melton Mowbray.
Following a spate of suspicious kills on 8 month old (35 kg plus) lambs, we were called in by the farmer to investigate. The farm is situated some 6 miles South of Melton Mowbray, Leics and about 8 miles east of Oakham near to Ashby Folville and Twyford. It is also very close to a disused railway which has deep cuttings and bridges and is now heavily overgrown with trees and bushes.
All of the kills occurred overnight and were in fields adjacent to the farm house and buildings, the unfortunate animals were killed in the flocks field but removed to an empty field for consumption. All that remained the next morning were some rib bones , legs and the severed head. Although the heads were all found in a different field to the carcass, often some distance away. On one carcass though, the head was never located. All these animals were killed and consumed overnight, with no meat or entrails remaining, the bones being cleaned of meat. The killings were staggered over about 1 week gaps and only stopped when in desperation, the farmer brought the whole flock in to the barns every night as protection (farm dogs left on guard).
The photos featured here were of the second lamb kill, the remains of which were taken to Drayton manor zoo, who's Panther expert, John Foden identified the inflicted damage as almost certainly a Big Cat, of Panther or Puma size. The animal had died due to a large bite to the windpipe, which had decapitated the unfortunate animal. There was also evidence of where the claws had pushed the wool through the skin from the outside, these would match an animal with a pad of at least 4" (claws extended width to 5"). Also the evidence shown here proved that the animal was alive when it was decapitated, and rules out foxes or badgers, which will not attack a live animal of this size, but would not consume this amount of meat in one night in any case, and would not have the strength to move such an animal over a 4 foot high fence!
Four lambs were killed over the month, and a further one survived with deep lacerations.
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The site of the second kill featured here clearly shows where the lamb was ambushed against a fence, the damage to the jugular and decapitation, caused large amounts of blood to be spread over the fence rails some 2 feet up! The scene was quite horrific and blood can be clearly seen on the photos along the second rail to the midleft
Below is a long shot of the "murder scene", the fence featured is to the left of the assembled "investigators" who are standing (center) in the adjacent unoccupied field, where the carcass was dragged into (over the fence) and consumed. The farm house is just visible in the far left of the picture. The wood where the farmer observed what he believed to be a Panther is behind the "investigators". The disused railway runs across the far right.
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