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Home   Gravesend   News   Article

2 more big cats sighted in county

21 December 2006
Black leopards were popular pets in the 1960s. Picture: NEIL ARNOLD/ KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH

Black leopards were popular pets in the 1960s. Picture: NEIL ARNOLD/ KENT BIG CAT RESEARCH

SUSPICIONS that several big cats are living wild in Kent have been given more clout following another two sightings of animals in the the north of the county.

Kent Big Cat Research has revealed that it has received information about two black leopards spotted in Gravesend and Dartford.

A couple from the Thong Lane area of Gravesend saw a large beast climbing a tree on Sunday, December 10.

The pair were drinking coffee in their kitchen when they suddenly saw a big, black cat climbing a 100ft birch tree.

According to their report the animal was hunting pigeons, but when it reached 50ft, the birds flew off, causing it to give up and come down the tree head first, with ease, and then dash off out of sight.

The animal had a very long tail and was also probably the same one previously spotted in Thong Lane.

Mr Arnold believes this was a different animal to one spotted at Dartford Heath recently.

A man contacted the research group to report a labrador-sized creature he saw while driving towards Dartford on the A2018.

He told Mr Arnold that the animal had been on the grass verge just beyond the Rochester Way turn off, but when he approached it shot across the road into Dartford Heath.

Mr Arnold said: “The witness told me it was a big black cat, Labrador-size, which he’d never seen anything like before.”

Mr Arnold, who has been tracking Kent’s big cats since 1968, said the animal was likely to be the same one spotted previously in the area.

He added: “Some 30 or 40 years ago, it became very trendy for people to own a black leopard or similar big cat as a pet.

“But the Dangerous Wild Animals Act introduced in the mid-1970s meant owners of an exotic cat would need a licence, which was costly.”

If you see a big cat, call 01634 302572 or e-mail neilthemod1@blueyonder.co.uk

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