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UK Big Cats - Beast of Exmoor
As reports of large cats in the wake of the 1976 Exotic Pets Act gathered speed with sightings of beasts in Surrey and Bodmin, by the late 70’s Exmoor too had it’s resident.
From the county that gave the world R.D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone comes a creature from the world’s elusive zoo known as ‘The Beast of Exmoor’.
Not so difficult to believe as you enter the rolling wooded hills of the National Park for any creature, however large to remain anonymous within these confines, let alone a mammal who’s mere countenance would fill many with fear and dread.
The descriptions are standard.  A large cat like animal with a long tail standing low to the ground with Dark Grey to Black fur, sized roughly between four to six feet in length.
There have however been small percentages that claim the creature to be of a brownish hue.  Dark green eyes claimed one report of a large black creature that ran across a road in front of a car.
This elusive creature which is still sighted to this day was given its name back in 1983 after reports of a panther type creature killing livestock started to gather momentum.
An estimate of 80 sheep slaughtered that year together with the baffling tracks and marks left only helped to fuel the legend.
This is in deep contrast to some researcher belief that witnesses are misidentifying known creatures such as domestic cats that would prefer to eat something served to them from a tin.
One interesting point is that there is a belief by some researchers that the beast is descended from an escaped Black Puma that mated with a Leopard.
In 1988 as the number of sheep killed the Ministry of Agriculture stepped in who in turn called in the Royal Marines who carried out a massive search for the creature.
This was an interesting move from a department who up to that point had dismissed reports of Alien Big Cats as a form of mass hysteria on behalf of confused witnesses.
The search however reached the conclusion after examining a carcass of a dead foal that a fox was responsible.  This did little to quell the concerns of local farmers who had lost large sums of money over the killings.
Even so, reporting of large cat like creatures still came in.  Even as recently as 1995 the Ministry carried out another study. 
This revealed creatures indigenous to the area could have carried out the killing of livestock in the area.
This however does not say they were due to large Alien Big Cats hunting in the county.
To this day several photographs exist although none that are without their flaws as conclusive evidence. 
Whilst cynics still say that the beast is nothing more than an animal known to the area the activities, prints and marks are still consistent with those of other big cats for other counties.