Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Black fur found at deer kill site

When no evidence is evidence?

One of the delights in life is to got to pastures new,have a look around at what,s not been looked at before,at least by oneself and with every turn of gaze something of interest beckons to be studied with eyes glimmering with expectation.Not on this occasion though for a different yearning gripped,a desire to check out a place where a spectacularly "strange" event had taken place some 9 months previously to see if any new trace of something could be gleaned,if not then this could mean possible confirmation of previous theories.Let me explain.
Last autumn was notable for a glut in deer carcase finds that were attributed to big cat kills,4 in 3 weeks,5 in total.One in particular stood out as being the finest example i,ve ever come across a first year roe neatly eaten with no mess like fur or blood scattered and in an area of high big cat activity,a picture of it is on the evidence page of spot where the deer was caught was clear with neck fur found and scraping of the hooves as it aphyxiated in the cats grip,then marks in the ground visible where it was dragged for 15ft over a small stream to be consumed that night last november.Checking out the nearby barbed wire fence i retrieved a decent clump of 1 & 1/2 inch long soft,black fur.A trail camera was set up but showed only the usual foxes,badgers,tame black cat and a few weeks later a return of the roe deer.The tame black cat however was short haired of a length of 3/4 inch i might add.
Anyhow,sending off a portion of the fur found to be examined by the eminent Dr.Legg of the Booth museum in Brighton the results came back as belonging to the domestic cat variety,so no leopard involved in the roe deer murder mystery we should concur.Not to be outdone i also e-mailed a photo of the carcase to a big cat study group in Africa who replied "definitely eaten and probably killed by a big cat,most likely a leopard" they replied "where did you find it?" to my answer of in Sussex i received no further comment.In fact,i didn,t actually find the carcase myself but got to it a little after the fact and coincidentely the daughter of the landowners is actually involved with a camera safari group in South Africa and originally thought of a big cats involvement with the kill but i digress.
Well ,enough of the history of this case and more on the news,for a start there has been no further sightings in the immediate area,i checked the fence again bearing in mind that this is now 9 months down the line and not a single strand of black fur was found despite going to the lengths of examing each and every barb with my trusty magnifying glass remembering that last year 2 different barbs had this long fur on them indicating at least 2 passes by whatever animal had left it with the large amount of left indicating also multiple passes.Apparently the local tame cats are still active around the place.So,getting to the point the fence at 18" is too high for a domestic cat to shed fur on it,this is indicated by none left on it and the height of said cats to be 12" high at the shoulder.
The facts as we have them:something big and silent had killed,dragged and ate that deer in a big cat-like way.Something left it,s fur on the fence which was longer than the tame cats present.Something had to be big enough for it,s body to scrape an 18"high fence and that something made multiple passes.That something had a domestic cat ancestry as prooved.It seems to me that that something had made multiple passes under the fence before it succeeded in it,s quest for prey that much seems likely but the most intriguing thing about this conflicting evidence is the domestic cat results,this has happened to me before and i suppose i,m meant to be disapointed that it wasn,t a leopard but i,m not.My quest is to uncover the truth by discovering and examining the evidence however conflicting that may seem and not to pigeon- hole theories to slot in where they could be expected to go.It would be expected that for a cat to be large enough to pull down an animal the size of a young roe deer(about 70lb) it should be at least of leopard size and ancestry.In fact,bizarrely enough i have a multiple witness report given to me from a much respected big cat researcher from the West Country which states that they saw a very large,alsation sized big black cat close up and mentioned that the eyes had slits,we all know that tame cats eyes retreat to slits like foxes whereas leopards go to dots like dogs........