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Is the Forest of Dean home to big cats?

Posted on 13th March 2015

The debate about big cats living in the Forest of Dean has risen again after a local man discovered large scratches on trees in the area.

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Forest of Dean holiday lodges could soon be filled up with wildlife enthusiasts after large scratches were discovered on a number of trees in the area around Cliffords Mesne and Newent.

Deer and sheep in the region have been found injured in recent years, which has led to some locals and a Gloucester nature expert believing big cats do live in the Forest of Dean.

Malcolm James, who found the scratches, told the Gloucester Citizen, “They (the scratches) couldn’t have been done by a badger because of the height, and they couldn’t have been done with an axe because there were no chunks missing.

“It would be good if anyone came up with an explanation. I can’t dismiss them being made by big cats.”

Ian Harvey, Forestry Commission wildlife manager for the Forest of Dean, is not so sure and said people should “keep an open mind” until there is strong evidence.

Image Credit: Nick Jewell (flickr.com)