Police looking for lion in Essex, U.K. (UPDATED: called off)

Essex Police investigate ‘lion’ sighting near St Osyth

Police in Essex are investigating reports that a lion has been spotted in a field near St Osyth.

Residents have been advised to stay indoors after the sighting in fields off Earls Hall Drive around 19:00 BST.

Essex police are working with experts from Colchester Zoo who believe the reports to be genuine after being shown a photograph by a member of the public.

Local resident Che Kevlin told the BBC: “I heard a loud roar at 10pm. It sounded like the roar of a lion.”

Tip: Tim Ashley

The local zoo is not missing an animal. Officials are checking to see if one may have escaped. The picture mentioned above has been released. It is not clear just how credible the evidence is for this but they are taking it seriously. Stay tuned. (Further updates are appreciated)

UPDATE (27-Aug-2012) (Associated Press article) There have been no droppings or prints found. There is one questionable picture on the Daily Mail. It’s not clear if the picture is the one given to authorities that made them pretty certain they were dealing with a big cat. This piece from the Guardian quotes a zoologist that says it’s probably a dog, not a male lion.

Forsyth and zoological director Anthony Tropeano of Colchester zoo arrived in St Osyth, where the sighting occurred, with tranquiliser equipment at the request of police, she said.

“By the time we got there whatever it was had gone. We were shown some photographs, but they were from very far away, very poor quality and to be honest there was no way of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” Forsyth said.

Asked if she was sceptical that the animal pictured was a lion, she said: “I think it’s unlikely. I think it was more likely to be a dog. It certainly wasn’t a male lion. It didn’t have a mane.”

Still many questions remain.

Improbable sightings of dangerous animals are a familiar part of the British news cycle, particularly at the height of summer when journalists struggle to fill papers and news bulletins.

It’s difficult to believe an African lion is on the loose when NO ONE says they are missing any.

UPDATE: Called off. Probably not a lion.

Police officers decided to call off the search on Monday after no trace of a big cat was found.

A police spokesman said: “We believe what was seen on Sunday evening was either a large domestic cat or a wildcat.

This is the picture. (!?!?!) Holy hell, how can you expend resources for that!


  8 comments for “Police looking for lion in Essex, U.K. (UPDATED: called off)

  1. Scott Hamilton
    August 27, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I think the important part of this is the witness saying, “lion was the first thing that came into mind.” At the distance the witness is claiming it could have been anything, even a dog, but she assumed a lion, so a lion is what it became.

  2. August 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    So, is this just random dumb, or is this laid at the feet of the ABC advocates?

  3. daran
    August 27, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    The ears are a standout, looks like a lynx to me or a Persian housecat

  4. August 27, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Yes, that white splotch under the chin is solid evidence of this being a Mesopotamian Lion.

    Quite rare you know.

  5. oldebabe
    August 29, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Not a lion? Duh…

  6. Old Rockin' Dave
    August 30, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    A local woman says it’s her pet, a large housecat of the Maine Coon variety. The picture doesn’t rule it out.
    Of course, there are maneless male lions…

Comments are closed.