‘Definitive proof’ of big cats in UK countryside as hair sample is 99% DNA match

Definitive DNA evidence has been found proving big cats are roaming the British countryside.

Unusual black hair was found on a barbed wire fence at a farm in Gloucestershire following a sheep attack. It was just a few miles away from where a large black animal was previously captured on video.

Documentary makers behind film Panthera Britannia said the DNA test result came back "positive" – confirming the existence of British big cats.

READ MORE: Cyclist attacked by puma just one of 38 big cat sightings reported to police in 2022

Mitochondrial DNA analysis found the hair to be a 99% match to a big cat species.

Matthew Everett, from Dragonfly Films, said: "It's taken five years for the production team to find such evidence and film its journey from collection to analysis.

"People in Gloucestershire and Britain have described what appear to be black leopards for decades. So, a leopard DNA result from a black hair sample is unsurprising.

"This is not the first such DNA result and is unlikely to be the last.

"There is a great deal of 'secondary evidence' for these cats, such as consistent witness reports, but hard evidence like DNA is hard to get, so the contribution from this documentary is very helpful.

"Collecting such evidence from local people, farmers and landowners is essential – Citizen Science like this will hopefully help us learn more about the Bagheera type big cats which may be quietly naturalising here."

The Gloucestershire farm where the DNA was found had two sheep killed in an unusual manner in the past five years. There has been reported sightings all over the nearby countryside during that time.

Tooth pit analysis of one of the carcasses, conducted at the Royal Agricultural University, suggested a relatively large carnivore was responsible.

Dragonfly Films is currently pursuing broadcast options for Panthera Britannia Declassified following the release of Panthera Britannia last year.

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