dangerous animals act

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An out of place animal is a creature that is seen outside its typical demographic. Out of place animals are seen all over the world; kangaroos in the USA, big cats in the forests of England, alligators in Canada, etc. These animals are simply not meant to be in the area where they are sighted or captured. Most commonly, these animals were previously pets that people might have let go in the wild after being unable to care for them anymore. That is the case of a large number of big cat species that were let into the wild in England after the  Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976 was put into action. However this cannot be the proven cause for all out of place animal sightings.

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Phantom Cats of the U.K.

We all are familiar with the animals that we live around. For some of us it’s squirrels and rabbits, for others it’s bears or wolves. But in the United Kingdom, the last thing you’d expect would be panthers right? Well according to many encounters, photos, and even attacks, panthers and other big cats are believed to roam the English countryside.

Many of these wild cats are assumed to be the result of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976 which resulted in many owners of exotic animals releasing their pets into the wild. The famous circus owner Mary Chipperfield admitted to releasing three pumas free into the forests of Dartmoor in 1978 after her zoo was forced to shut down. Many of these cats have been killed or captured throughout the years, such as in 1980 a puma was captured, in 1989 one was hit by a car, in 1991 a lynx was shot which had killed 15 sheep in the two weeks prior to its death. An ocelot was shot in 1994, in 1993 a puma was captured in Scotland, in 1996 a caracal was shot, and in 2001 a lynx was captured. In 1988 Royal Marines were sent to hunt big cats who were killing livestock, but they were unable to make a successful kill. Aside from capturing and killing many photos and videos can be found around the internet of phantom cats. In 2000 an 11 year old boy was attacked by a large “black cat” which left 5 claw marks across his face. In 2005 another man was attacked which left him severely wounded. In the summer of 2012 in Essex, a lion was spotted roaming the area. And several other witnesses claim to have heard lion roars in the area.

There is no doubt that there are exotic cats roaming the U.K. but could these numbers be rising? And could more of them continue to be released into the wild? Or perhaps enough have been released that a breeding population has been established. Let me know your thoughts, stay curious.