The mystery of the '˜Preston Puma'

A big cat could be roaming the streets of Preston after a feline tracker released pictures of a giant paw print.

Tuesday, 23rd August 2016, 10:39 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 8:15 pm

Labelling it ‘The Preston Puma’, David Jones, from Preston, said he’d seen the print several times around the city and says he’d also spotted claw-marked trees and the remains of dead animals which he believes could be linked to the animal.

And David, who is almost completely deaf, said: “I’ve had several very close encounters with it - feet never mind yards!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“To date I’ve seen it no less than 14 times and despite being deaf and wearing hearing aids, heard it twice. The first time I heard it, I spooked it from cover after following a suspicious looking brushed trail through long grass in a field.

“This was the very start of my quest to track and prove its existence and it went crashing out through the undergrowth meowing as it went in alarm.”

Pumas can run at speeds of up to 50mph and choose to hunt at night. Their usual diet can consist of deer, raccoons, foxes, rabbits and skunks and are usually spread in north, central and South America but can be seen in a variety of habitats including deserts, swamps and forests.

LEP reader David got in touch with the paper to share the photo and now hopes he can find more sighters of the animal.

“I‘ve been tracking this cat’s wanders now for three years, although admittedly things have been quiet around here for the last six to eight months. I’m hoping folk will report any sightings of the puma around here so I can get back on its trail again to further collate more evidence.

“I know there’s the disbelievers who always take this mickey out of these articles but there are a lot of genuine folk out there that have seen these cats that won’t saying anything for fear of being ridiculed or even not believing what they have actually seen.”.

But after seeing the photo, head of large mammals at Blackpool Zoo, Adam Kenyon said he couldn’t be sure what animal it is.

“It is very difficult to determine from this picture what animal this print could be from, although it doesn’t look quite big enough to be an adult puma,” he said. “In order to make a more informed decision, we would need to look at any images of the actual animal.”

Have you seen any trace of the wild creature roaming the city? Do you believe there’s dangerous creatures on the lose in Lancashire?

Send any pictures or videos to [email protected]