Big cat expert Rick Minter thinks the mystery animal spotted by Winstones ice cream parlour could be the same creature that savaged a sheep near Rodborough Common.
Last month, Mollie Davis, a trainee manager at the ice cream factory on Rodborough Common, was driving her car to work when she spotted the ‘Labrador-sized’ mystery black-coated beast in broad daylight near the car park next to the parlour.
Commenting on the big cat sighting by Mollie, as featured in Stroud Times, the big cats’ podcaster said: “Mollie’s sighting is at a location where several other people have claimed to encounter large black cats, resembling black leopards, over recent years.”
Rick also revealed reports of a big cat strike on farming land close to Rodborough Common: “One sheep carcass, suspected by the farmer to be the result of a large cat impact, was reported in the locality, close to Rodborough Common, soon after Mollie’s sighting in June. Luckily such events seem to be rare. A black leopard or the tan coloured pumas which also get reported will take about one adult deer a week for their energy needs, supplements by snacking of rabbits, pigeons and other small prey, including fawns at this time of year.
“Mollie’s sighting is at a location where several other people have claimed to encounter large black cats, resembling black leopards, over recent years. Two of these cases are on the Big Cat Conversations podcast, in episode 2 and episode 41.
“Around this location, including different parts of Rodborough Common, people have described the cats stalking deer and pursuing foxes. This is the behaviour we’d expect from wild large cats – they are mostly reported by people as confident, fit and sleek, suggesting they adapt well to Britain’s landscape and the plentiful natural prey.
“In their native countries, these cats are fertive. They tend to move away swiftly once detected by people, and Mollie reported her one leap away over a wall, which made her realise it was likely a large cat, not a dog. She also noticed the very long and thick tail, which is a feature of such cats.
“They hide away in cover such as bramble scrub, thick vegetation, and even remote derelict sheds and buildings. They rest and conserve energy, then become active to ambush their prey.”
Rick’s fortnightly podcast, Big Cat Conversations, hears direct from big cat witnesses across Britain, giving them space to discuss their experiences and emotions. Several episodes have come from Gloucestershire and the Stroud area, reflecting the ongoing reports in the county.