A big cat could be responsible for deer attacks near Woodchester Park in Gloucestershire, according to reports.
A mutilated roe deer carcase was found on National Trust land on 4 January, and experts concluded its injuries were consistent with an attack by a ‘large predator’ such as a puma or jaguar.
The deer’s abdomen had been torn open and its heart, kidneys and liver had been removed. In addition, its snout had been severed.
Rick Minter, author of Big Cats: Facing Britain’s Wild Predators, said: “It is hard to think of anything indigenous that could have done this.
“We can never be 100 per cent sure – all we can say is that it fits the bill.”
David Armstrong, the National Trust head ranger for the area, told the press: “The deer was found close to Woodchester Park in an area where there is nice beech woodland sloping down to pastures below.
“With only one footpath, although it is popular with dog walkers, there is plenty of space for a big cat to live relatively undisturbed.
“There are some very occasional sightings of big cats in the Cotswolds but they have wide territories, so are rarely present in one particular spot for long. We’d be interested to hear of any more sightings at Woodchester.”
Though there have been many reports of big cat sightings or even attacks in the UK, this marks the first time the National Trust has gone on record to confirm their activity.
News later emerged of a possible second big cat attack just a few miles from the first.
Last year, Sporting Rifle offered a £1,000 reward to the first person to legally and professionally shoot a big cat in the UK and provide photographic evidence – but no one came forward to claim the prize.