Woman spots ‘dead puma’ on side of road

A motorist thinks she may have spotted a dead big cat while driving on a busy road in Chester.

A motorist took a picture of a suspected dead puma in Chester. (SWNS)
A motorist took a picture of a suspected dead puma in Chester. (SWNS)

A motorist thinks she may have spotted a dead big cat while driving on a busy road in Chester.

Courtney Roberts, 21, was travelling on the A483 on the outskirts of the city last week when she saw the dead animal lying in a central reservation. She later shared her footage with experts and was told it was thought to be the body of a puma, otherwise commonly referred to as a ‘mountain lion’ or ‘cougar.’

Experts said the big cat, usually native to the Americas, has been sighted in the wild in Britain since the 1960s and 1970s when they were popular to keep as pets. Roberts, from Wrexham, said: "You see so many strange looking animals on the side of the road over here. I had to put my phone on record and point it down to the road, unfortunately it isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be.

"Looking at that picture it does look like a bobcat. My partner was just looking and he saw a Scottish wildcat on Google and I think it looks like one of them but …. in person you can see a spotted pattern on its coat."

She posted the photos on a Facebook group for lost pets, where it was seen by a network of nationwide big cat researchers who then picked up the case. Roberts also decided to return to the location with her partner to try to identify the animal or possibly even recover the body. However, when she went back an hour later, the animal had vanished.

Is this a puma? (SWNS)
Is this a puma? (SWNS)

Roberts added: "I’ve just gone on to the bypass with my partner and pulled over, and we stopped exactly where I saw the animal, and now there is no animal there. So I think someone has seen my post and gone to take it.

According to Canadian wildlife expert Jason Kenzie, who has worked extensively with exotic cats, the animal is most likely a juvenile puma. He said: “It looks feline, but I believe it’s too large to be a Scottish wildcat. It could be a Bobcat or Lynx, but really this has the markings of a young cougar.”

Tim Whittard, who produced a documentary about Britain’s mystery big cats called Panthera Britannia Declassified, agreed with the puma theory. He added: "This wouldn’t be the first time the body of a big cat has been seen road-killed in Britain. This is the fourth report I’m aware of in less than three months, and there are several high profile cases of similar incidents.”

Documentary makers have discovered what they claim is the 'clearest ever' photo of a big cat prowling the British countryside. (SWNS)
DragonFly Films claims it discovered the "clearest ever" photo of a big cat prowling the British countryside. (SWNS)

Big cat sightings

Last year, documentary maker Whittard and his Dragonfly Films team discovered what they claimed was the "clearest ever" photo of a big cat stalking the British countryside. The picture, which shows a large muscular panther-like creature lying in long grass, was found in the files of a zoology organisation.

Experts said if the image was genuine, it was "probably the best photo of a British big cat that exists". The photo, which is said to have been taken in Smallthorne, Staffordshire, was accompanied by a handwritten note dated 17 March – but it is unclear in which year it was taken.

A wave of "black beast" sightings were reported during the late 1990s, including famous cases in Herefordshire such as the "Woolhope Wildcat" in 1994 and numerous reports of the "Herefordshire Phantom Feline", also known as "Big Puss", from 1996 to 2000.

A photo of an alleged big cat taken in July 2016 in Gloucestershire was compared in news reports with a photo of a fox in the same location, but was later confirmed again to be the size of a domestic cat, while out-of-focus footage of an animal identified as a lynx reported in November 2016 was also found to be an ordinary cat. In May 2022, a father and son spotted a big cat as they set up a barbecue on the beach at Pwllheli on the Lyn Peninsula in northwest Wales – the second reported sighting within 12 months.

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