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LEICSTERSHIRE PANTHER WATCH
Sightings 2001 page
This page features the sightings log for 2001 Leics and Rutland and periphery only
Click on link for 2002 sightings
Reports are received from a variety of sources including referrals from Leics Police, local media referrals, and direct or indirect contacts by phone, letter or increasingly email. It should be remembered that these are just the tip of the iceberg and many are not reported, or come in years later.
Where possible, all reports are followed up by telecon as a minimum or site visits. Where a "hot" report comes in, ourselves and the Police have been on site within a few hours and in at least a couple of occasions, further sightings have occurred whilst attending. One notable occasion in 2000 resulted in the Police wildlife officer eyeballing a Panther before it ran off at immense speed!! Needless to say that he is now (if not quite then) a 100% believer in their existence
Please note that sometimes, specific location details are withheld for safety of the Cats
Also note that due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001, many sightings could not be followed up and with a lack of people in the countryside, reports were as expected down on 2000. But with now the all clear 2002 should be as normal.
9th Jan:Lady sees dark creature at night behind property 3 miles West of Loughborough that simply floated across the field at such great speed, thought it may be a deer, but similar sighted also by farmer 5 miles North East of Loughborough) and reported in the same way.
13th Jan: Large black cat seen by motorist at Gallows lane, Measham at 02-00 in morning
Summary: - Panther
16th Jan: Large black cat seen on disused Great Central railway (Leics to Rugby section) at 10-00 in the morning 6 miles south of Leicester near M1 motorway)
16th Jan: At 13-00, Birstall: Large black Panther like creature seen for a few seconds then gone near to Steam preserved Great Central railway but in the built up area (4 miles North of Leicester and the other side of the City to the 10-00 sighting, also railway route nearly all gone through the City)
16th Jan: Approx Birstall North Leicster.
Large black panther like cat seen in garden of house at Curzon rd/ Tempest rd Birstall. Only 1/4 mile form Greengate lane report above
23rd Jan: At Ibstock (North West Leics).Tuesday evening a couple feeding foxes in their garden saw a Big Black Cat as it triggered the security light, they have a very large garden with two ponds. Also strange and eerie sounds reported from people staying at the chalets.
Summary: -Panther: sounds however may be foxes especially during breeding season. Ibstock is close to the Measham and Moira areas where the summer video footages were taken
27th Jan:: A 6006,North Of Loughborough Time: Midnight.
On Saturday evening sees a Big Dark coloured Cat on the A 6006 North of Loughborough. The animal came in front of him ran in a flash he saw the eyes they reflected a yellow/white colour, itís tail was long and thick He said: "this was to big for a domestic cat" it was about the size of a fox. The cat was travelling South, this was also seen by his wife.
Summary: - Poss: Black Hybrid
27th January Nr: (Heather,) ( again near to Measham) Time: Midnight.
On Saturday night a Ranger for the Sence Valley Forest Park, who knows the difference between a Cat, Dog or Fox was driving home from a Wedding do when he suddenly saw a Big Black Cat at the side of the road, the eyes reflected Blue, the tail was hung down as it stood then the Cat turned around and went back into the field, going west.
Cast was taken from the site. and also faeces.
Summary: - Panther
28th January Nr:Whitwick
(North West Leics) Time: 16:45 hrs.
Our Charnwood Panther Watch member Chris, called out to an earlier report saw a Big Dark coloured Cat as it trotted across fields at a fair pace, as the light began to fade, but visibility was still very good.
He stopped the car and ran to the spot armed with video camera, but had no luck as it had disappeared, the Cat travelled in a westerly direction. The area is a maze of woods, bracken and rocky outcrops
Summary: - Panther
7th February Nr: M42 Roundabout, (Ashby de la Zouch)
Time: 04:15 hrs.
Driving along Road - into Ashby de la Zouch, at 04:15 in the morning, a lady saw a Big Black Cat bigger than the size of a Labrador couldnít see tail, from right hand side at Golf Course. On the cars approach the cat then went back into the Golf Course the lady didnít see itís eyes but she did see that it had a small head with long thin legs and of sleek build, she sayís she was 100% sure it was a Black Panther.
Summary: - Poss: Dog, Fox, Black Hybrid or dark Puma
Earl Shilton (South West Leics)
Time: 10:20 hrs.
Massive black cat seen near to equestrian centre, with horses nearby
Summary: - Poss: Black Hybrid or Panther
8th Feb: 09:00 Near A42 garage Measham. Large black cat bigger than Alasation dog seen. Had long tail curled up at end
13th Feb: Cat seen on Gallows lane Measham at side of road. Had long thin legs, long tail and eyes shone rd in filter lamp
25th FebruaryWeston on Trent, Derby
Riverside field near railway. Cat was running with horses, boys saw it
Summary:- Poss: Black Hybrid or Panther
5th March 2000hrsMkt Harboro A6 junct with Litl Bowden Rd
Good lighting car approx 70 yds from animal crossing road. Definitly Big Cat, no way could be a dog. Low quick movement Tail low to ground thicker end to it uniformly. Dark coloured 2-21/2 ft high 6ft long including tail. Body athletic and bulky yellowish eyes
11th March Burbage
Large footprints found in garden. Family keep cats so recognised paw prints Their tom cat was frightened.
Large black cat seen near Markfield (M1 J22). AnimaL 6ft nose to tail. Also 5 chickens taken over night
14th March Braunston in Rutland Time: 10 45 am
Lady on Knossington Rd saw big black cat lopping across field at back of house family had found big paw prints in snow on New Years day in gateway to this field.
Summary:- Poss: Black Hybrid or Panther
19th March Quorn football club nr Woodhouse rd Time: 0645hrs
Big cat dark brown in colour seen.
Aylestone Meadows, South Leicester (reliable witness with good knowledge of domestic cats) reported seeing evidence of killed fox and large cat type paw prints This is second time she has found this type of evidence
Mowsley. Witnesses house backs onto open countryside puts food out for foxes Foundpaw prints size of hand (4 1/2" round) Non symmetrical, left front paw -no claws. 6ft fence cats and dog behaved peculiarly Took photos
Summary: Report is from an area of intense sightings over the last few years and matches a Big Cats prints. No dogs able to produce these size prints known of in the area, especially in a back garden!!!.
Report from a father that his daughters pony had puncture wounds. Also larger paw marks found near stables. Local vet saw similar at neighbouring stables. Not conclusive.
Begining of May-June Lynx wild cat cross seen at Brooke in Rutland by villager Black thick long tail 2 Ĺ ft high 3 ft long body also seen by taxi drivers attending address. Dark brown with bands of black.
Similar to creature seen in summer 2000 mile away at local school grounds
6th May: Walton on the Wolds, east of Loughborough. Large black cat seen near cricket club. Witness said it was like black cheetah he saw in Kenya
Panther like cat seen in garden at Osgathorpe, West Leicestershire and an area of previous reports.
5th June: 02:30 Higham rd, Hinckley Taxi driver saw what he said was definitely a Panther
8th June Oakham,
Report via Rutland Times of a sighting by a lady walking dog on hills on edge of Oakham, Rutland. Early evening, she called to her dog, an large Panther like creature stood up in long grass close to her. She was shocked and ran out of the field!! Numerous sightings within 1/2 mile of this point for over 6 years now
Whitwick (edge of Thringstone ) report via e-mail of cat like creature nr Redhill Lane Black Dobermann size- long tail. Again massive sightings history for years in this area.
Report via e-mail 2 miles from Smeeton Westerby field between Mid main line and Grand Union Canal Sandy coloured animal about GSD dog size with squashed face and half a tail. Looked like a jackal. Possibly Puma or Lynx (Positive ID Lynx seen near here last year)
16th Jun: 09:30 Braunston in Rutland.
A Local out walking on a footpath / track came round bend and saw large black Panther type cat bigger than Alsation with at least 4 foot long curved tail. Coat was covered in water droplets from dew on long grass and hedge. Cat was not concerned and walked off. Last year he saw a Puma at Loddington but that was golden brown.
9th June 1900 On Burbage Common nr Hinckley
. Local Farmer driving along track road near railway. Big black cat laying on grass 20 ft away rounded ears Muscular front could see shoulder blades long tail swishing from side to side same length body as Rotweiler dog. Animal turned and walked away.
Similar sightings near here for some years
21 June 06:15 near Euston St, South Central Leicester
Two workers (one a senior manager) saw a big black cat on their Industrial estate. The creature had a 3 1/2 Ė 4 FT long body and 18"- 2 FT tail curved in an "S" shape. Used a pallet behind to gauge size accurately of animal The creature moved with a "liquid" type flow movement
This is a very interesting sighting .located between Saffron Lane (opp Gas Museum ) and the Welford Road (Halfords Super Store complex )Next to the main London railway. Following the line south for a few hundred yards, we come to Burnside Avenue on the Saffron Estate -where a big cat was seen in the garden and escaped over 7 ft wire fence last year!!!
28th June 3am Sileby
2 big cats seen in garden of house on Barrow Rd Man looked out of window with street lighting. Two dark coloured big cats as big as foxes much bigger than domestic cats with long thin tails curled up at end. One marked territory (though no ammonia smell) the other sat in the road. He was 30 yds away from them. They went off towards Sileby. The railway is 75 yds from the house.
Footnote**The man concerned was brought up on Dartmoor. At the start of the Second World War people couldnít feed their exotic pets and Big cats were released and became established on the Moor. He saw one in the late 1940ís just outside Modbury and in the early 1940ís one was trapped but dragged the two traps until it was caught near Lustleigh
Mid June Keyham 5am
Lady heard a terrible noise in garden. Looked out and saw a huge black cat with a crow in its mouth, being dive bombed by other crows.
Sun 1st July 17:30 Peterborough
Man drivng into Peterborough turned off A 47 on Long Thorpe Parkway a raised dual carriageway wooded area 1oo yds from road On left On edge of grass magpie being stalked by approx I yr old cub. squarish feline head short pointed ears sandy colour lighter under chin and front under body chubby 18 inch tallĖPuma. Thick smooth fur crouched down totally fixed on bird. Has a friend at London zoo and is used to seeing big cat cubs.
2nd July 6.30 am Great Glen A6 south of Leicester.
Entering the speed limit from Leicester. Witness saw a black panther like creature crossing road in front of car causing it to slow down.
(police took report and passed on this sighting).
Loads of previous history around Great Glen and Kibworth.
8th July 6.30pm Seagrave
Towards Seagrave Nurseries on left, massive black cat, Alsatian Dog size lopped across the road and into thicket. The cat was black with long tail curled towards the end. It was massive.
17th July: Large black cat seen crossing Burrough rd, Somerby by the Burrough country park rangers wife ( Husband has seen it on Burough hill and surrounding areas before)
21st of July 5.30 p.m
Report in via email following a Radio Leics program
This occurred at approx.. on 2001 on an unclassified road between Carlton Curlieu and Three Gates (North of Mkt Harborough)."As I drove along the road a "big black cat" with a long tail moved out of the long grass next to the road, transversed the ditch and disappeared into the hedge. My wife and two children also saw this. I turned the car round and returned to the spot but the animal had by this time disappeared.
The sighting was only 2 or 3 seconds but the animal was definitely not a
"normal" cat but resembled a large dog."
26th July: Panther seen crossing road at foot of Burrough Hill, by Moscow farm
29 th July Twyford, south of Melton
At about 1 am, a farmers son and girl friend saw a full grown Panther walking across the new garden area of the farmhouse near the village See also report for 31st August 2001
29 th July 18:50 Ketton, Rutland
A6121 to Sth Luffenham by Luffenham Heath Golf Club Fosters Bridge went towards rlwy line. An Oakham businessman(and his wife) who were was previously a sceptic until his sighting says the cat was definitely a panther-type of breed and graphite grey in colour,
He told the Rutland Times, "This animal appeared from the left-hand grass verge, sauntered across the road, got nearly across, hesitated, looked in our direction and then continued through the hedge towards the railway. It is obviously used to people going past because it didnít hurry at all, it just took its time."
30th July: Mowsley near Mkt Harborough. Goldfish pond liner found ripped to shreds and concrete edge displaced. Also large cat like droppings left at scene. Mowsley seen of previous sightings of Panthers.
31 st July 15:00pm Mountsorrel quarry (4 miles south of Loughborough)
Black cat larger than alsation crossed in front of man walking his dog on the quarry lane above the village. He was concerned that there were youngsters playing nearby. The man goes out shooting for rabbits etc and is used to local wildlife, and so was quite shocked at his encounter
14th Aug:03:30 Belton/ Osgathorpe near Loughborough. Large yellow cat seen at 20yrds distance in early hours. Long tail and thin long legs. Loads of previous sightings over the years, mainly Panthers in that area Most likely Puma.
14th Aug19:45 p.m. Hinckley
Large black cat of Afghan hound size , 2-3 ft tail, jaguar shape head , seen from upstairs window in neighbours driveway 20-40 yds away.
15th Aug 05:20 Shepshed near Loughborough
Panther walked down garden path into next door stretched self on tree trunk then leapt 3ft fence next door 100 yds from the disused railway
16 th Aug 19:00 Hinckley
Neighbour to the 14th Aug report, reported seeing same cat in field near to house.
17 th Aug 18:00 Broughton Astley, South of Leicester
Man and girl friend saw large back panther climb to top of 45 ft Scots pine tree 100yds away on Coventry rd. Big as German Shepherd dog It had 3-4 ft tail which it coiled around tree trunk to assist balance up and down tree in matter of minutes. It literally walked down the tree from branch to branch. (police logged report) scratch marks found high up.
18 Aug 16:00 footpath nr Wing Manor,Rutland
200yds ahead black cat bigger than fox with white patch on face 2-3 ft body tail 1 Ĺ ft tail twitching turned up at end . Appeared to be a youngster. Description fits a young (black) Puma (cougar)
23rd Aug 12.30 mid-day Osgathorpe North West Leics
Panther like big cat crossed rd in front of car.
26 th Aug 17.25 Bardon Hill near Coalville
Panther seen by husband and wife while driving.
28th Aug6.15 am between Little and Great Dalby
Panther crossed road only a mile or so behind the ancient Burrough Hill iron age fort and park where members of the public and the rangers have seen numerous Panthers and Pumas over the years.
28th Aug 17:45 Tugby to Goadby road
Large cat of bigger body than Alsation dog with very long tail observed at 150 yards in clear conditions, loping along in stubble field by very reliable witness. The cat was black in colour and was seen for some time.
This sighting is in the Mkt Harborough to Melton hot spot, just south of the A47 and is not many miles from the report of 21st July.
31st Aug Twyford, south of Melton
About 1 am at a farm on Ashby Folville rd Twyford, 5 miles south of Melton. the security lights were tripped by a Panther like big cat. In daylight, over 80 four inch paw prints were found across the fine soil for new lawn area. Definite a big cat. At the point the security lights came on, the cat dug in its claws then leapt 3.1 metres!! .
PANTHER WATCH has taken plaster casts of a number of the prints. They are definitely cat prints but 4 inches across (instead of 1/2 inches most in the case of a domestic cat)
On 28th July at about 1 am, the farmers son and girl friend had previously seen a full grown Panther walking across the same land area.
The farm at Twyford is only a couple of miles from the 28th August report at Great Dalby and is less than a mile form the farm where the sheep killings took place in 98 (shown on this site)
A full report was printed in the "Melton Times" on September 7th who attended the site and were astonished at the findings. The farmer involved is well respected and known throughout the farming community so it really has been a very good sighting.
2nd Sept:Thurcaston north of Leicster.
Only a mile from the Birstall sightings in Jan of this year, A Large black cat was seen in a field by a pest control officer. He was sure it wasnít a dog, tail moved independently of body and moved smoothly into hedge tail rounded at end and curved upwards.
Wildlife enthusiast, Mark Sentance out on his regular forays into the countryside around Melton, in search of video footage of the Cats, comes across a dramatic find. On a disused railway embankment south of Melton and hidden away, he finds the remains of several sheep in an old hut along with more remains, strewn along the bough of a very large tree, over 12 feet up. The only access being by ladder. The tree has fluids etc running down and wool is spread along the branches. He films the scene and we have seen it and it looks fairly conclusive of a Panther, although it could be created by hoaxers but unlikely given its location and the current foot an mouth scares. The remains are at least 3 months old though
Mark has now Joined us and it is hoped that his video will be examined by Panther experts.
We also attended the Rainbows event at Watermead Park and were overwhelmed by the public support and reported sightings on the day, some going back years
17th Sept 23.15 Hinckley
A gentleman living near Burbage Common (Hinkley, South Leics).near fields and lake and Leic-Hinckley rd, heard bang from garage at back of house. Dogs were going mad Shone torch 20ft away was big black cat foraging in bin liner It had pushed the mower away-hence the bang. It was after chicken bones now scattered. Shone torch full in its face-it turned and bolted.24-25 inches high to shoulder about size of female Afghan. Probably more than 4 ft long body. Greeny eyes which reflected back like bulbs. Head shaped like head of jaguar on jaguar car bonnets. Thick furry tail 3 feet long sloping downwards and curled at the end. This checks with earlier reports in the area of Burbage Common and also Panther up tree at nearby Broughton Astley (see 14th 16th 17th August)
7th Oct:13:00 North of Melton Mowbray
Large black cat size of shetland pony!! Seen near Tumbledown childrens farm. Lots of previous sightings within 1/2 mile of this one for last few years but first here this year
8th Oct: 20:30 Large black cat crossed road in centre of Newton Harcourt village between Leicester and Mkt Harborough (again load of history over the years in this area)
9 Oct 22-00 Greengate Lane Birstall Report supplied via Leics Police wildlife officer
Big black panther seen after noises heard on roofs of isolated bungalow at night. 15 cats at farm have disappeared over last few months and a Goose taken with no sign of feathers (as with a fox) . Panther seen a fortnight earlier and children have seen it and at least 3 adults have seen it at the farm. Height approx. of a Doberman dog. Site visit and interview conducted by Panther Watch but no further evidence found at site or nearby wood and Great Central Railway (preserved steam)
See also report 16th January 2001 and nearby Thurcaston report, Sept
13 Oct Meridian Business Park, South-West Leicester
3 workers on a building site between the Post Office depot and end of Thorpe Astley housing estate (adjacent to the L.F.E M1 service area) saw a panther like cat. This is only a mile from Braunstone park where there have been previous Panther sightings last year and also 2 years ago, a Motorway Police sergeant observed a panther on the adjacent M1 embankment.
18th Oct: Oakham
Local villager and wildlife spotter saw a large 2 foot high white cat with tan patches the CO-OP car park (next to the wheelie bins) near Oakham. Lots of previous Panther, Puma and Lynx sightings around here but never a white cat although one was reported some years back on the other side of Leics? And they do get white cat reports in the North Lincolnshire wolds (snow leopard?)
22nd Oct: 04:00, Heath lane Earl Shilton near Hinckley
Large black cat seen crossing road, bigger than a fox.
25th Oct: Grounds of Loughborough Grammar school. (south edge of town)
Large black cat size of fox with "large hanging belly" seen seen walking across playing field
1st Nov:15:20 Mount Pleasant School Castle Donnington.
Large black Panther like cat seen on playing fields by member of staff. Headmaster contacted ourselves for re-assurance and we were able to get the police wildlife officers to liase with the school and provide advice on information to give pupils to avoid a conflict. Note: second school in Leics in a week that a panthers been seen at.
16th Nov: 10:30 Sharnford near Hinckley.
Large black cat about 3 foot long seen on fields off school lane (see also 19th Nov)
19th Nov: 21:00 As before on 16th Nov, Large black cat seen on fields off school lane Sharnford
21st Nov: 7.15 am Deeping St James, South Lincs on Sandy Bank ( 10 miles North of Peterboroough)
On a vehicle track at side of river/ big lake dawn breaking, guy out walking thought at first it was dog dark colour .seen at 80-100 metres labrador dog height it crossed track saw him became low sleek 1st one bounded 2nd smaller half the height just shot across after the first-quick as a flash) Poss female panther and cub or two cubs? Previous history near here and down to Peterborough
Fri 30th Nov 07:00 am Leic Leicester Forest East (near M1 services)
Grandmother collects the children for school House on end of cul-de- sac adjacent to goods railway track and backs onto wild spinney that turns into Kirby fields.Motorway is at the back of it. Regularly sees squirrels and foxes on river way Pulling in to driveway saw very large black creature in headlights knew it wasnít an ordinary cat. She was very afraid. It didn't seem bothered and carried on walking across driveway before jumping over low wall onto next door garden. They now have video camera ready. Loads of previous sightings going back years around this spot. (see 13th Oct, Meridian park)
Early Dec: 07.00Dunton Basset, South Leics
Seen by motorist driving towards Dunton Bassett and Lutterworth 100yds after traffic lights at B581 A426 cross roads road flattens out 20 yds ahead on right big black cat seen going from rd to grass. 2inch thick tail 1 metre long lolloping along tail straight down curled at end Bigger than alsation Ėmale. Loads of history in this area, see Whetstone and Broughton Astley/ Sharnford reports
6th Dec : 09.10 Oakthorpe near Measham, NW Leics. On disused railway, large brown cat seen up a tree. Poss Puma. (previous Pumas seen on A42 and near here)
7th Dec: 15:00
Hugglescote near Coalville NW Leics, cat seen on disused railway
7th Dec: Time: 23:00 hrs. (Hugglescote)
Father and Son out lamping (using light to hunt foxes / rabbits at night) see Black Panther like cat out in fields they had hunting permission to use.
Final thoughts: Poss.
Black Hybrid or Puma
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