A wild camper who heard a bloodcurdling growl from his tent in the Peak District is now ‘certain it was a big cat’ after a teenager shared footage of a ‘panther’ attacking a sheep in the same area.
Josh Williams, 17, had spent the night wild camping with a friend, in the British Countryside, when they spotted what looked like a panther standing over a sheep in the distance.
Have YOU seen the Peak District panther?
Panthers are most commonly found in the humid tropical forests of Asia and Africa, but the teenager said he saw the big cat walking from Mermaid’s Pool in Derbyshire.
Now, two others have come forward to corroborate his story.
Even before Josh shared the footage, Youtuber Novice Wildcamper shared a video revealing he’d heard a big cat growling from his tent – also in the Peak District.
At the time, he said: ‘I don’t know if you heard that. Not sure if the camera picked it up… God knows what it is.
‘It’s quite a weird, guttural sound.’
After sharing the video, he wrote: ‘There have been sightings round there of big cats but no real proof. Second sound was definitely eerie.’
The video attracted hundreds responses, including one from a person who claims to have grown up around pumas and worked at a zoo.
‘I have heard the noises lions, leopards and tigers make, that was definitely a large cat,’ he said.
‘The guttural sound was definitely a large cat… the second noise however wasn’t a large cat or deer or canine… it sounded much farther away.’
Now after stumbling across Josh’s footage, he’s certain he had a close encounter with the big cat himself.
Josh Williams (left) had spent the night wild camping with a friend Ben Burns (right), in the British beauty spot, when they spotted what looked like a panther in the Peak District
Tracy-Jane Fielding, from Glossop, believes she too saw a big cat in the Peaks District while camping in October 2021.
‘It was terrifying when I heard it. I looked quickly out of my caravan window, and because we have lights outside, I could see that it was a big, black wild cat. It was different to a dog because it had a long, flowing tail,’ she told the Derbyshire Times.
‘I had heard the noise and the screech from the animal it had eaten, and I was trying to identify that – I think it was a barn owl with white feathers. It made this leap and pounce, it roared, and then there was this awful screech for dear life as the owl was trying to get away.’
Ms Fielding claims she froze and was unable to get a picture quick enough, before the beast turned around and ran out of sight.
After watching the footage shared by Josh, Ms Fielding is now certain she witnessed a black panther.
Even before Josh shared the footage, Youtuber Novice Wildcamper shared a video revealing he’d heard a big cat growling from his tent – also in the Peak District
Upon sharing his supposed sighting of the panther, Josh revealed it sounded as if it was feasting on the carcass of another animal.
Josh said he was convinced the creature was a big cat and resembled a panther but could not be entirely sure what it was they saw.
He said: ‘We were both confused when we first saw it… it appeared to have a long black tail, so it definitely wasn’t a sheep.’
The two teenagers attempted to attract the animal’s attention to get a better look at its face, but were also concerned for their own safety.
The video has attracted criticism from people who argue against the notion that it’s a panther. Some have said it’s likely no more than a plastic bag blowing in the wind, while others suggested it could be a cow or a calf.
Panthers are most commonly found in the humid tropical forests of Asia and Africa, but the teenager said that he saw the big cat walking from Mermaid’s Pool in the Peak District in Derbyshire
Rick Minter, who hosts the Big Cat Conversations podcast, told MailOnline the footage does appear to be a ‘panther sized cat over prey’.
‘It’s not as clear as we’d like… [but] to me the footage does back up the report of the two witnesses,’ he said.
Mr Minter suggested if it is in fact a big cat, it is likely to be a black or melanistic leopard.
He said a listener of his podcast lives locally to the Peak District and went to the scene that was in the film, where they found a ram carcass with a black head.
‘Large cats resembling black leopards have been reported in Britain for several decades,’ he noted.
‘Most reports appear consistent, and dogs and horses react with the witness in many of the cases. These cats are stealthy and furtive, and as ambush predators they are more active at dawn, dusk and in the night.’
Josh was convinced that the creature sounded as if it was feasting on the carcass of another animal
Mr Minter said observations suggest the big cats are likely breeding in the area after legislation in 1976 which made it more onerous to keep such pets sparked ‘releases of trophy pets’ into the wild.
Josh said even he and his friend had doubts about what they’d seen on the long drive home.
‘But then that also begs the question, what the hell is it?’ he said.
‘I showed the video to my college tutor and friends to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and they were all in disbelief.
‘I was glad I managed to capture it on video after the event unfolded as I knew that nobody would believe me if I told them I had seen a panther in the Peak District the first time I went camping.’
Mr Minter said: ‘The big cats reported in Britain are often described as a ”beast on the loose” – but there is a strong case that they have quietly adapted to very suitable conditions here.
‘Perhaps we should think of them as not ‘beasts’, but shy and wary predators.’
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