Dog-walkers in Milton Keynes have reportedly spotted a large wildcat – which could be a Eurasian lynx – believed to be as bid as a Labrador.
The latest sighting came from Claire Evans, who was out for an evening walk on April 29 between Brooklands housing estate and Magna Park industrial area, close to Junction 14 of the M1.
‘A large, dark creature’
"I walk this way at least once a day and have done for six, years and we have a wealth of wildlife including deer, foxes and rabbits. We see them all the time," she told the Milton Keynes Citizen.
"Our dog is very used to seeing them but she was acting stranger than normal, like she was aware of something, and was very alert, looking into the trees and bushes."
A moment later, a deer ran from out of the trees and bushes up onto the hill, said Claire.
"We stopped and waited so as not to frighten it and watched until it disappeared. Then, from the same spot the deer came from, we spotted a large dark creature very low to the ground. It pounced out and ran after the deer."
‘It moved like a cat’
Claire said the creature was very long in the body and had dark-coloured short fur.
"It was almost like a tortoiseshell pattern with a very long, thick rounded tipped striped tail. Its head was rounded just like a cat and it moved like a cat would that was chasing something. I would say it was the same size as a Labrador dog but much sleeker."
Wildlife experts say the creature could have been a Eurasian lynx. Across continental Europe, these are the third largest predator after the brown bear and wolf.
Their main prey are deer but they also eat foxes, rabbits, hares, rodents, and birds.
All lynx fiercely defend themselves when cornered and, though they tend to avoid people, they may attack a human if threatened.
Lynx were once native to Britain but became almost extinct hundreds of years ago due to hunting and habitat loss.
But now the Lynx Trust UK wants to reintroduce the big cat in a bid to cull the number of deer roaming Britain's countryside.
Wild lynx is set to be reintroduced to Britain to cut soaring deer population despite farmers' fears they will attack sheep instead
It is now estimated there are two million deer in the UK and numbers are soaring
Lynx Trust UK wants to reintroduce the big cat in the north of England and southern Scotland a bid to cut the number of deer eating crops. A government online consultation is running to gather feedback on their proposals, but many farmers are worried the lynx would eat sheep instead.
The much-reported 'Wildcat of Warwickshire' is believed to be a Eurasian lynx. The big cat has been reported roaming the countryside in the West Midlands and has even been captured on camera.