Results from deer carcasses in Gloucestershire: Big cat kill? No.

BBC News – ‘Big cat’ in Gloucestershire ruled out by DNA tests.

Scientists have failed to find any evidence that “big cats” killed two roe deer found dead in Gloucestershire.

The National Trust commissioned DNA tests after finding one deer on its land at Woodchester Park, in Stroud, and one a few miles away last month.

Warwick University experts said they had only found DNA relating to foxes and deer on the bodies of the animals.

Forty-five samples were tested for the saliva of any dog or cat-related species.

Tests found fox DNA on both carcasses.

Tip: @matthetube Matt Crowley on Twitter

So, no big cat but those convinced aren’t deterred. I’m left wondering if the fox DNA was from scavenging. It’s not stated. Did the animals die of natural causes? Not clear from what’s given.

UPDATE: (5-Feb-2012) More on sightings in Gloucestershire and the people who investigate.

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  2 comments for “Results from deer carcasses in Gloucestershire: Big cat kill? No.

  1. Fastmover01
    February 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    From the sparse BBC story a fox was most likely scavenging after the kill, hence the DNA. I just have a hard time seeing the local fox species attacking and bringing down a Roe deer let alone 2. Rabbits and smaller game yes. But whether or not this is a “big cat”, or “pew-ma” as the reporter said, remains to be seen. Something like this could be attributed to stray or feral dogs.

  2. Massachusetts
    February 2, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    I would have a harder time believing foxes actually killed a deer than that big cats, presumably escaped / released exotic pets, were responsible. Scavenging seems the logical conclusion.

    Though it’s not a crazy notion that a big cat could possibly be on the loose, it’s not supported by the extant evidence, so it appears to be very unlikely. Since they don’t have coyotes there, I agree that dogs are a likely candidate–much more likely than big cats I’d say.

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