Black Leopard on the prowl

PUBLISHED: 10:09 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:06 11 May 2010

Rob Martin

Rob Martin

A BLACK leopard IS on the prowl in Crow Country and the public is being warned not to chase or threaten it or it might attack them. A big cat expert confirmed this week that the leopard is almost certainly the same animal he has seen close to his home nea

A BLACK leopard IS on the prowl in Crow Country and the public is being warned not to chase or threaten it or it might attack them.

A big cat expert confirmed this week that the leopard is almost certainly the same animal he has seen close to his home near Codicote.

Rob Martin runs the Cat Survival Trust near the village and has a number of big cats including leopards and is also a wild cat scientist.

This week, talking exclusively to The Crow, Mr Martin said the black leopard he had seen close to the Trust was without doubt the same one that had been seen in the countryside around Royston.

"It is the same black leopard that has been roaming around the area for the past two years. There is only one black leopard on the loose," said Mr Martin.

"Normally leopards pose no threat to humans but if they are provoked or cornered they could attack because they would feel threatened.

"I have seen a very grainy film taken on a mobile phone that was shown to me by your photographer and can confirm that the animal is a black leopard. I am 100 per cent certain of that."

The video, taken by a Crow reader walking in a field near Buntingford, appeared on the Crow website. Other sightings of a big cat have also been reported around Weston recently.

Mr Martin said the black leopard, which has made a number of visits to his property, had on two occasions been within 60 metres of him and then disappeared.

On several occasions he has been called out by farmers and by the police following reports of a large black cat which he identified as a leopard due to the paw prints he discovered.

"I am certain there is only one black leopard prowling around and knowing they can travel up to 30 miles at night it could be seen anywhere in the open countryside around here," added Mr Martin.

"The countryside offers plenty of food for a leopard like rabbits, deer and even smaller animals and also plenty of cover. During the day they might rest in trees or take cover in long grass or even woodland.

"But my advice to anyone who sees this beautiful animal is keep your distance and it will just wander off. In most cases it might stay in one area for a few days and then leave.

"This is a lonely, solitary animal who knows how to survive. It was probably kept illegally as a pet in a private collection and either escaped or was let free.

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