Gloucestershire girls tell of terror after being chased by a "panther"

Two young girls have told of their terror after being chased by a big cat - in Gloucestershire.

15-year-old Kim Howells was taking a walk in the 43 sq miles Forest of Dean with her cousin Sophie Gwynn, 8, when they came across a large black cat lying under a tree.

The girls described the animal as being the size of a Great Dane and, after spotting it, it started following them.

The girls, terrified, then ran all the way hom to Kim's home in Ruspidge.

Sightings of big cats, such as pumas, are common throughout Britain. Between April 2004 and June 2005, 104 sightings were reported in Gloucestershire. There were also 132 sightings in Devon, 127 in Yorkshire, 125 in Scotland, 123 in Wales, 103 in Sussex and approaching 100 in Cornwall, Kent, Somerset and Leicestershire.

Girl, 15, tells of terror after being stalked through forest by a big cat she claims was a PANTHER

By Daily Mail Reporter
21st May 2010
Daily Mail

The girls were walking through the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, when they spotted the big cat

A 15-year-old schoolgirl has told of her terror after being chased by a big cat she claims was a 'black panther' in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Kim Howells was enjoying a walk through the woodland on her 15th birthday with her cousin Sophie Gwynne, eight, when they came across the animal lying beneath a tree.

Ms Howells, who described the 'panther' as about the size of a Great Dane dog, with big eyes, paws and a long tail, said the creature began following them after they spotted it at around 8.30pm on Monday night.

Terrified: Kim Howells, left, and Sophie Gwynne near the spot in the Forest of Dean where they saw the big cat they believe to have been a panther

She said: 'I saw something out of the corner of my eye and at first I thought it was a log or something.

'We carried on walking but then I looked back and it was sitting up looking at me.

'It was definitely a big cat. I've seen wild boar and deer in the Forest before and it definitely wasn't one of them.

'What makes me sure is that it was still light so I could see it really clearly.'

Ms Howells added: 'Sophie was asking what it was and then we looked behind us and it was about five metres away, following us.

'I didn't know what to do so we cut through the brambles and just started running.'

The pair then ran all the way back to Ms Howells's family home in nearby Ruspidge.

Ms Howells's mother Cathy showed her a picture of a panther, similar to this animal pictured, on the internet for her to confirm that was indeed what she had seen

Ms Howells's mother Cathy said: 'They were in a real state, their feet were all cut and Sophie was in tears.

'Kim is a very sensible girl and if that's what she says she saw, that's what it is.'

Mrs Howells later showed her daughter a picture of a panther on the internet for her to confirm that was indeed what she had seen.

Mrs Howells said she now has doubts about letting her daughter and niece play in the nearby woods.

She added: 'I used to think that they were much better off there than a public park or somewhere but now I'm not sure, it is a real worry.'

It is not the first time a big cat sighting has been reported near Ruspidge.

In June 2007, milkman Robert Brinton got an early morning wake-up call when he encountered a big cat in Railway Road.

Earlier the same year, firefighter Peter Bishop reported a black cat sighting in Cinderford and a lorry driver from Lydney also saw one on Valley Road.
Bar Sinister
This is starting to sound like Britain's version of Sasquatch. I have some questions to ask regarding big cats in Britain.
1.Why are there no decent photographs of these "panthers?" Given the number of people carrying cell phones one would think someone had snapped a reasonable photo by now.
2.Why are they always panthers (which are really black leopards) - they are extremely rare.
3.Why have no large cat dropping ever been found - they should be all over the place by now?
4.If these cats actually stalk citizens why has no one been attacked?

Quite possibly all of my questions have been answered satisfactorily. If so can someone direct me to a link?

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