Big cat believers have seen it near Stroud
ALMOST two thirds of people questioned about big cats believe the animals are out there in the Stroud area.
And of the 59 per cent who claimed they existed, 27 per cent of them said they had seen one of the beasts in the flesh.
The Countryside and Community Research Institute's survey, sparked by numerous big cat sightings, deer carcass finds and video footage earlier this year, aimed to discover more about the public attitude towards big cats.
Big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge, who teamed up with Stroud teaching assistant Coryn Memory to capture what many believe was a black cat on video, was encouraged by the findings of the survey.
"People are very excited with what they are seeing," said Mr Tunbridge, who plans to set up a camera at the site of a deer killing in Selsley, Stroud.
"There are an overwhelming number of deer in the Stroud Valleys and the territory suits them."
County Big Cat author Rick Minter said at the talks he and Frank give, most people are excited about big cats but want them left alone.
The survey found that of the 22.9% who don't believe, three-quarters of them said it was because there was no scientific evidence. If they are found, only 2.4% wanted them killed on safety grounds – most wanted them either protected, put in a sanctuary or ignored.
There were 210 respondents. The institute is an umbrella organisation for Hartpury College, the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, the University of Gloucestershire, and the University of the West of England.
It is set to publish analysis of press coverage of the subject later this year. For more, see http://ccriuk.wordpress.com/
Source: This is Gloucestershire