Big cat seen from stationary train ECML Newark

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fsmr

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Hi all
just received this report from a passenger on the ECML stationary on a southbound hulltrains service at Claypole near Newark this morning Tues 10th April 08-00

"I swear I've just seen a lion coloured big cat from the train. We were
stationary on the East coast mainline just south of Claypole nr Newark.
08:00. It was 200m away and was not a deer. iPhone camera picture shows
nothing at this distance."
This report was from someone in a fairly responsible position so i have no reason to doubt the validity unless of course it was mistaken identity.
(I know some folks still treat the subject in the fringes of UFOs for some reason but i have to accept that)

The animal could well be an adult Puma (mountain lion) as there have been reports around that area for years on and off
We do get some very good close up reports from NWR managers as well as train crew all over the network and from preserved lines including the Great Central at Birstall
EWS/DBS are often best placed due to slower speeds and signal checks
giving them more time to observe trackside wildlife.

Other areas of activity on the network in the East Midlands are:
The Midland Mainline at Sileby/ Cossington south of Loughborough near Humbold bridge is a hotspot for passenger, train crew and pway staff
also reports by train crew at Croft sidings and down to Narborough station west of Leicester

Anyone that also witnessed this animal today at Claypole or wishes to report any other historical reports can do so in confidence on the sightings form page with anonymity if requested to www.bigcatsinbritain.org
or Pm myself
 
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Greeny

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On two occasions I've seen a large cat in the Edge Hill area in 2008. It was the size of a Greyhound but was definetely a cat from the way it moved. No way was it a dog. I did report it, however I can hardly blame the Keystones or RSPCA for not acting on it or indeed believing it so the second time I kept my mouth shut.

G
 

fsmr

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On two occasions I've seen a large cat in the Edge Hill area in 2008. It was the size of a Greyhound but was definetely a cat from the way it moved. No way was it a dog. I did report it, however I can hardly blame the Keystones or RSPCA for not acting on it or indeed believing it so the second time I kept my mouth shut.

G

Sorry you got that reaction
Leics police and the RSPCA here have for many years gone on camera stating that these animals are real and out there but there is no need to panic and are always very helpful passing on reports to us or assisting where livestock are killed

One of the EWS crews checked at Cossington said that the cat was totally at ease with crossing a 4 track high speed line as it sauntered down the side of their stationary 66 cab looking up at them before checking both ways and bounding across all 4 lines
Of course they do exactly the same in their native lands where they adapt to modern living with us humans just like urban foxes get street wise in London or any other major UK city
The animals are not as big as you think, with lab dog to Alsation size being the norm, not lion or tiger stuff!!
 

Schnellzug

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There've been quite a few reports of such things round our way; one's been seen two or three times just up the road, in fact. I'm sure there have been reports of sightings from trains, although I don't have any actual information to hand about that.
 

michael769

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There have been a few escapes and deliberate releases from private collections. Some have been successfully caught but as keeping a large cat is illegal without a very difficult to obtain license the owners are often reluctant to report the escapes. Unfortunately the UK's climate is not suited to large cats and their restricted carnivorous diets. The UK has very few suitable prey species other than small mammals that a single large cat can wipe out in a matter of weeks - as a result they tend to perish either through starvation or a harsh winter in a matter of months but initially, when prey levels are sufficient, they can appear to do quite well. During that time their ability to hid and inbred fear of humans means that encounters are few and far between (and typically quite distant) - later as their health declines they become less mobile and thus even less visible.

It is very difficult to separate out the real calls from those that are mistaken. On open ground with a lack of visual clues as to perspective the brain can badly misjudge distance and sometimes domestic cats can appear to me much larger than they are in reality. Some have even mistaken foxes for large cats!

In Scotland greater numbers of reports of large cats occur in areas that have known populations of the Scottish Wildcat - go figure.
 

LE Greys

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There have been a few escapes and deliberate releases from private collections. Some have been stress fully caught but as keeping a large cat is illegal without a very difficult to obtain license the owners are often reluctant to report the escapes. Unfortunately the UK's climate is not suited to large cats and their restricted carnivorous diets. The UK has very few suitable prey species other than small mammals that a single large cat can wipe out in a matter of weeks - as a result they tend to perish either through starvation or a harsh winter in a matter of months but initially, when prey levels are sufficient, they can appear to do quite well. During that time their ability to hid and inbred fear of humans means that encounters are few and far between (and typically quite distant).

It is very difficult to separate out the real calls from those that are mistaken. On open ground with a lack of visual clues as to perspective the brain can badly misjudge distance and sometimes domestic cats can appear to me much larger than they are in reality. Some have even mistaken foxes for large cats!

In Scotland greater numbers of reports of large cats occur in areas that have known populations of the Scottish Wildcat - go figure.

There's a stuffed specimen of the Kellas' Cat in the lobby of Aberdeen University's Zoology Building. It's a wild/domestic hybrid that's the size of a wildcat, but black and has a big, thick tail.

In terms of habitat and prey availability, the Puma could cope well in this country, as could the Lynx (as indeed it did, one theory about the Beast of Dartmoor is that one of the last remnants of the British Lynx population was there). Their typical prey is Rabbit and Hare size, but ranging up to a medium-sized Deer possibly - and there is currently a Deer population explosion going on (maybe a few Lynx would be helpful in protecting our woodlands from browsing). Sheep are another likely target. Bigger animals such a Leopards can live a good way north, the Amur Leopard can survive the winters in the southern tip of Siberia.

Still, what would convince me is not footage of one, but an actual animal either captured or hit by a car. That's a big problem in America with Pumas (a.k.a. Cougars, Florida Panthers, etc). So far, that's yet to be reported.
 

fsmr

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There have been a lot of reports of black Foxes in my local area recently, in fact my mother saw one, so be careful about identification.

http://www.huntspost.co.uk/news/latest-news/cambs_scientists_want_to_unravel_mystery_behind_rare_black_fox_that_died_when_hit_by_a_car_1_1336391

Hi
yes the black fox thing is well documented (as are black bunny rabbits due to escaped pets!!)
For quite a few years the black fox thing was urban myth and dismissed by wildife experts but it has been prooved as fact

I have only encountered a big cat in the UK wild once in 20 years of researching them basck in 2000 and that was by chance driving home in rural North Essex when a Puma (mountain lion) walked in front of my car as I slowed to go into a village. Stood above the bonnet line of my mondeo,and taking up the whole of my side, there was no mistaking the animal. I had full VHS video and night lights beside me but they were a bit slower to power on in those days and the animal walked into the undergrowth and was gone Brilliant golden yellow cat with classic white markings oin head and tail.

BTW most mobiles like the I phone are useless for recording any distance unless you fit the optional zoom lens kit to it so not much hope of a photo unless its stood next to the train
 

michael769

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Still, what would convince me is not footage of one, but an actual animal either captured or hit by a car. That's a big problem in America with Pumas (a.k.a. Cougars, Florida Panthers, etc). So far, that's yet to be reported.

A Lynx was shot and its body preserved by gamekeeper in 1991, a Puma was caught by a Scottish farmer in 1980 and ended up in a wildlife park Story.

There are a lot of wildlife enthusiasts in Britain and anywhere with large wild mammals is very well studied by people who are experts at creeping up on very timid and shy wild animals - so it is vanishingly unlikely that that a breeding population could survive long without being detected. Britain is a small crowded island that is completely devoid of any remote wildernesses. Even the lightly populated parts Highlands and Islands have large numbers of visitors throughout the year.
 

fsmr

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I'd much rather know why a train was stationary on the ECML at Claypole at 8 am??

Cheerz. ex-railwayman.

Yep i was wondering that, were they stacked all the way back form Northallerton then? or was it some other incident going on
I dont know which service he was on
 

LE Greys

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A Lynx was shot and its body preserved by gamekeeper in 1991, a Puma was caught by a Scottish farmer in 1980 and ended up in a wildlife park Story.

There are a lot of wildlife enthusiasts in Britain and anywhere with large wild mammals is very well studied by people who are experts at creeping up on very timid and shy wild animals - so it is vanishingly unlikely that that a breeding population could survive long without being detected. Britain is a small crowded island that is completely devoid of any remote wildernesses. Even the lightly populated parts Highlands and Islands have large numbers of visitors throughout the year.

Now this sounds interesting. If they really are about, it might be worth trying to establish the population a bit more effectively to keep the Deer in check, plus the Wild Boar (something I forgot earlier) that seem to have got loose as well. I'd concentrate on Lynx, since that is a genuine native species, and has already been reintroduced in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Globally, it's a Least Concern species, but is effectively Red List in Europe.
 

fsmr

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A Lynx was shot and its body preserved by gamekeeper in 1991, a Puma was caught by a Scottish farmer in 1980 and ended up in a wildlife park Story.

There are a lot of wildlife enthusiasts in Britain and anywhere with large wild mammals is very well studied by people who are experts at creeping up on very timid and shy wild animals - so it is vanishingly unlikely that that a breeding population could survive long without being detected. Britain is a small crowded island that is completely devoid of any remote wildernesses. Even the lightly populated parts Highlands and Islands have large numbers of visitors throughout the year.

"Lara the Lynx" was captured in Cricklewood a few years back and lives in London zoo
However i am not asking for a debate on if or not these animals exit or could exit but just interested in all reports from staff and passengers on the network and preserved lines as we build up a picture of these animals habits and locations throughout the UK and Ireland,(The ROI have their own issues having only recently banned the owning of Tigers and Lions in your normal back garden:roll:) as they do like to follow used and dissued railways as they provide green corridors and plenty of cover and food

Cheers
Nige
 

Schnellzug

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I'd much rather know why a train was stationary on the ECML at Claypole at 8 am??

Cheerz. ex-railwayman.

Presumably something to do with this mornings fatality?

I hear that one time, although I can't confirm this, someone reported seeing something much rarer than any number of Mystery animals: it was Live Departure Boards one morning, and it said "East Coast: A Normal service is operating, no disruption." Although it may be an urban myth.

:oops:
 

tsr

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Now this sounds interesting. If they really are about, it might be worth trying to establish the population a bit more effectively to keep the Deer in check, plus the Wild Boar (something I forgot earlier) that seem to have got loose as well. I'd concentrate on Lynx, since that is a genuine native species, and has already been reintroduced in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Globally, it's a Least Concern species, but is effectively Red List in Europe.

Wild boar are, I believe, far more dangerous than big cats - indeed, as has been pointed out in this thread and elsewhere, wild big cats in their current state may be only slightly used to human environments, and relatively scared of us.

If the authorities need to introduce lynx or other species to keep deer, boar and perhaps foxes (?) in check, I suppose an important step will be to prevent urbanisation of the introduced predators. We all know how self-sufficient domestic cats can be if you feed them a little but make them catch the rest of their food, and that is the way it should be for big cats too. A campaign would need to be introduced to ensure people are aware of the presence of big cats in their area, and how to prevent them becoming a nuisance or a hazard.

The one thing that does concern me is the effect of big cats on sheep farmers and other farmers of smaller livestock. I have read reports (that I have no reason to disbelieve) which do highlight French and Swiss farmers' plight when big cats devour their animals - instead of the nuisance urban foxes and the like. I imagine there are both technological and strategic ways to prevent this from happening, and obviously we want to encourage sustainable farming by removing unnecessary obstacles like reintroduced predators that destroy farm animals!

When I am in the Great British countryside, I often carry a camera with a long-range zoom, and I will be more than happy to share any photos of big cats that I encounter. I don't think anyone is strange in the slightest for believing they exist, but I do think most wild big cats are probably from private collections.

P.S. Please forgive me for my slightly generic term "big cat", but I'm sure you get the gist!
 

fsmr

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Ok i have spoken to the guy and the animal he saw matches a large Puma (or mountain lion) exactly including its white chest and yellowish coat.
The train was the First Hull trains 6:25 southbound to KC service and was checked at a signal near Claypole crossing. The cat was on the East (left) of the train.
and yes wild Boar are far more dangerous both to walkers childern and dogs than a big cat which will generally skulk off. Cats also tend to avoid colliding with cars or trains.
Wild boar (and deer) however can cause catastrophic damage and fatalitys to car drivers and one even derailed a DMU near Westbury some years back
 

LE Greys

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I remember someone once telling me that it's possible to jump over a charging Boar, I'll believe that when I see it!
 

tsr

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Ok i have spoken to the guy and the animal he saw matches a large Puma (or mountain lion) exactly including its white chest and yellowish coat.
The train was the First Hull trains 6:25 southbound to KC service and was checked at a signal near Claypole crossing. The cat was on the East (left) of the train.
and yes wild Boar are far more dangerous both to walkers childern and dogs than a big cat which will generally skulk off. Cats also tend to avoid colliding with cars or trains.
Wild boar (and deer) however can cause catastrophic damage and fatalitys to car drivers and one even derailed a DMU near Westbury some years back

At least the witness of this particular animal's appearance was able to provide you with what sounds like a decent level of detail. I have read very vague descriptions in media reports which are really not newsworthy, since they may or may not be big cats.

The hazards of deer and wild boar to humans are tragically underestimated on some occasions. Deer will, as you say, cause massive damage to most small vehicles, and there was a very good article about this in the Daily Telegraph. It is worth repeating that the best way to clear a deer from the roadside is not to simply hope it will go away, but flash your lights (if in a car) and sound your horn. This generally acts as a sufficient deterrent to the animal, and also warns other people nearby.

There are stretches of road within a mile of where I live that are prone to deer running across them. This is because I live in an area where deer have been hunted by the aristocracy back in Tudor times, and they have become wild and unchecked since then. Unfortunately, deer warning signs would clutter up far too much of the pavement if they were installed everywhere that they are needed, and, in any case, people ignore the warning signs and typical deer habitats.
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . .
It is worth repeating that the best way to clear a deer from the roadside is not to simply hope it will go away, but flash your lights (if in a car) and sound your horn. This generally acts as a sufficient deterrent to the animal, and also warns other people nearby.
Now there's a bit of well-informed advice!
It may not be useful to all of us, and may not apply for years to come, but who could have expected assistance of such general and practical help from a Railway forum?
 

fsmr

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The hazards of deer and wild boar to humans are tragically underestimated on some occasions. Deer will, as you say, cause massive damage to most small vehicles, and there was a very good article about this in the Daily Telegraph. It is worth repeating that the best way to clear a deer from the roadside is not to simply hope it will go away, but flash your lights (if in a car) and sound your horn. This generally acts as a sufficient deterrent to the animal, and also warns other people nearby.

There are stretches of road within a mile of where I live that are prone to deer running across them. This is because I live in an area where deer have been hunted by the aristocracy back in Tudor times, and they have become wild and unchecked since then. Unfortunately, deer warning signs would clutter up far too much of the pavement if they were installed
everywhere that they are needed, and, in any case, people ignore the warning signs and typical deer habitats.

Off topic and b!! all to do with trains I know but
we have the same issue in Rutland and a few car drivers have lost their lives on the A1 dual carriageway when deer have gone through the windscreen at speed
My eldest had a lucky escape at xmas following a car down the main A606 by Rutland water at night in Deecember when a herd ran out, both avoided the main herd but lone deer went between them and caused nearly £5k and a month off the road damage to his 06 focus narrowly avoiding a write off. although most of the front of his car including the aircon and cooling system has been renewed:D

The insurance guy asked him who owned the deer and took some convincing that they lived wild:roll:
I told him to give the guy the address of Buck house london as they are from the old Royal Forest:D
 

Yew

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Off topic and b!! all to do with trains I know but
we have the same issue in Rutland and a few car drivers have lost their lives on the A1 dual carriageway when deer have gone through the windscreen at speed
My eldest had a lucky escape at xmas following a car down the main A606 by Rutland water at night in Deecember when a herd ran out, both avoided the main herd but lone deer went between them and caused nearly £5k and a month off the road damage to his 06 focus narrowly avoiding a write off. although most of the front of his car including the aircon and cooling system has been renewed:D

The insurance guy asked him who owned the deer and took some convincing that they lived wild:roll:
I told him to give the guy the address of Buck house london as they are from the old Royal Forest:D

I know someone who had their car written off by a rabbit. It was quite funny as in the box labelled ' Whose Fault was the accident' he filled it in 'The rabbits'
 

tsr

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Now there's a bit of well-informed advice!
It may not be useful to all of us, and may not apply for years to come, but who could have expected assistance of such general and practical help from a Railway forum?

My point was really rather obvious, yes, but the real point is that the deer will not just sit still if you make the most fuss possible, but the simple fact that a car is approaching will probably make it hesitate as it decides what to do next - which is generally to run out in front of you just as you approach, as deer have difficulty judging the speed of oncoming objects. This is relatively well documented.
 

Harbon 1

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We had a close call when a deer ran into my dads car on the M180 on the way to Newcastle. I did say before and after "we should have gone by train" :D
 

Tiny Tim

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A handful of big cats have, over the years escaped into the wild and been recaptured/shot. But this doesn't account for the large numbers of reports that have been collected. There isn't a population of Big Cats at large in our countryside; As has already been stated, we're far too small an island for this to happen without the animals being fully discovered and documented. Another startlingly obvious problem with the idea that Lynx and Pumas roam willy-nilly across Britain is this: Where are the dead bodies? As far as I'm aware NO dead big cats have been discovered, although there have been a couple of hoaxes. Like a lot of these conspiracy-type theories, it's fun to imagine that whilst we sleep tigers are raiding our bins. I've only ever caught badgers and foxes going through my rubbish, but maybe one day.......
 

brillopad

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There's all sorts out there - Dartmoor Zoo had a wild puma (IIRC) calling to their captive one.
Was passing about a mile beyond Totnes on the up last week and saw a sheep minus head and a lot of wool.
 

tsr

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A handful of big cats have, over the years escaped into the wild and been recaptured/shot. But this doesn't account for the large numbers of reports that have been collected. There isn't a population of Big Cats at large in our countryside; As has already been stated, we're far too small an island for this to happen without the animals being fully discovered and documented. Another startlingly obvious problem with the idea that Lynx and Pumas roam willy-nilly across Britain is this: Where are the dead bodies? As far as I'm aware NO dead big cats have been discovered, although there have been a couple of hoaxes. Like a lot of these conspiracy-type theories, it's fun to imagine that whilst we sleep tigers are raiding our bins. I've only ever caught badgers and foxes going through my rubbish, but maybe one day.......

I have never heard of an official source say there is a problem with the number at large, and indeed there cannot be a particularly notable level of big cat activity. The number of reports probably indicates that they are more common than people think, but hardly an everyday occurrence. In terms of carcasses, I believe they would probably go and die in inaccessible or quiet areas, where nobody would really bother to look - you'd certainly be unlikely to find one dead on your front lawn. If they are not known to be killed by getting shot, getting hit by cars or whatever other human cause, it simply means that they actively avoided humans - and this has been mentioned in the rest of this thread.

There's all sorts out there - Dartmoor Zoo had a wild puma (IIRC) calling to their captive one.
Was passing about a mile beyond Totnes on the up last week and saw a sheep minus head and a lot of wool.

And it wasn't a train strike with added-value trajectory?
 

PinzaC55

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Isn't it strange that, in these days when nearly everbody has a mobile phone with a camera, nobody ever gets a photo?
 
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