Accepted Paper:

Cats and carcasses: animal bones as evidence of big cat kills in rural Wales  


Ros Coard (University of Wales, Lampeter)

Paper short abstract:

Wales is subject to numerous reports of alleged sighting of big cats and predation by big cats on local animal stocks. This paper seeks to explore the use of discarded animal carcasses as evidence of such activity and predation by big cats in local communities.

Paper long abstract:

Wales, along with other rural upland areas of Britain, is subject to numerous reports by local stock-breeders and stock-keepers of their animals being predated upon and from alleged sightings of large felids. These carnivores are not naturally indigenous to the Welsh (or similar) landscapes and are known as either 'Big Cats' or ABCs (Alien Big Cats). Questions currently arise over the existence of big cats and, importantly how to demonstrate this existence. For naturally shy, notoriously independent and rare animals finding independent verifiable and scientifically accepted evidence proves difficult. One line of evidence is the examination of the material remains of the predation activity. Debris in the form of discarded animal carcasses remaining on the landscape after alleged predation attacks by 'a big cat' is not uncommon in rural areas. Such evidence can be used for several lines of research, particularly in the confirmation of the presence of a felid in the area and in attempting to identify which one. This paper seeks to explore the existence of large felids within rural upland Wales with reference to drawing on parallels of animal remains in the past. It attempts to outline some of the difficulties in recognising felid predation from discarded animal remains and in identifying which felid (from the many potential representatives of this carnivore group), may be the perpetrator.

Panel P09
Cryptozoology: animals out of place or time