A big cat is feared to be on the prowl in Yorkshire after a sheep was found stripped of its flesh. All that was left of the unfortunate woolly creature was its skeleton.
Now, police have warned ramblers and farmers to be on their guard.
Experts believe the killing has all the hallmarks of a panther-type attack.
The term black panther is used to describe any large black cat, and experts believe this culprit could be a black leopard.
Sightings of big cats roaming the British countryside (and, from time to time, urban areas) have been quite common in recent decades.
The cat could be the same one spotted earlier in the year on Ilkley Moor, the scene of the mysterious incident of 1987 when a police officer, hoping to take photos of the mysterious lights seen there, saw what looked like a "Gray" extraterrestrial and even took its photo, which can be seen on the internet.
Yorkshire beast kills sheep
By ANDY CRICK
Published: 27 Nov 2010
Terrifying ... black leopard
Savaged ... sheep's skeleton
A BIG cat was last night feared to be on the prowl in Yorkshire after a sheep was savaged and stripped of its flesh.
Cops have warned ramblers and farmers to be on their guard for the beast.
All that was left of the sheep was its skeleton. A police wildlife expert said yesterday the attack had all the hallmarks of a panther-type creature.
Other experts believed it could be a black leopard.
A farmer called 999 after the body was discovered in a field near Kirby Hill, North Yorks.
Cops took DNA samples in a bid to identify the attacker.
Rural crime officer PC John Wilbor, from North Yorkshire Police, said: "The evidence seems to fit with a possible big cat attack. These animals can travel a wide area and by their nature they are very secretive."
The cat could be the same one spotted earlier in the year on Ilkley Moor. It is feared the animal may have roamed 40 miles north in search of food.
Another sheep carcass was found in Whashton, less than a mile from Kirby Hill, last week. Resident Willy Metcalfe said: "It was half-eaten. There is something out there."
Expert Mark Fraser, of Big Cats in Britain, believes it could be a black leopard, which can be more than 7ft-long. He said: "They've been spotted in Britain before."
Last edited by Blackleaf; Nov 28th, 2010 at 02:29 PM..