21 Mar 2012

Feedback and quotes from the Big Cat discussion

Big Cats - are they out there?
As some will know there was a Big Cats talk and discussion in Stroud  15 March 2012. It was sadly the same night as the big NHS talk so I missed it but the organisers have kindly let me write up the feedback on this blog. So below you will find the feedback and quotes from those participants who were happy to leave their comments.

The event was hosted by Stroud Valleys Project and included talks by both Rick Minter and Frank Tunbridge. I'm told the participants came from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, from late teens to senior citizens.

Specific comments written by participants at the talk. These are in no particular order:

“I think we are fortunate to have them in our area. They should be allowed to roam and live without interference.”

“What legal status do the cats have if any?  If a hunter shot one has he broken the law?”

“As part of an ever changing and disappearing countryside these creatures deserve respect.”

“Let them breed and live wild with as little disturbance as possible.”

“Why are some people so adamant that this ‘phenomenon’ is impossible? Because as far as Out-of-the-Ordinary goes, a relatively few big cats living secluded lives isn't THAT weird is it? Yet it is perceived in that vein by those people who insist that all the spotters must be imagining things or making it up!”

“Humanely trap one to get real evidence.”

“These cats are not indigenous and also may be associated with interbreeding with feral cats.”

“It is worrying for the animals themselves, for other wildlife, and for people.”

“It is good to learn about them and their habits and to see an increase in population. I hope we can avoid demonising them like we did to make them extinct in this country in the first place.”

“Treat them as any other aspect of nature and respect them.”

“It’s exciting and scary.  This talk has made the sightings seem much more real to me. I find the fact that we live amongst big cats exciting and scary. I go out walking my dogs in Stroud area a lot and have to admit I now feel scared for my dog.”

“To pursue them would create danger for all – leave alone!”

“Survey them but leave them alone. Observe them but remotely, with no direct disturbance.”

“Would be wonderful to have updates about them but I am extremely concerned about trophy hunters and poachers.”

“They are interesting but let’s not end up wiping them out. They are not even that big.”

“They have habited in our area and we are lucky to have them here. If we leave them alone they will leave us alone.”

“I feel protective of them and they should be left alone. Signage would be good as information can be reassuring and help allay fears.”

“I think it’s important to survey them to make sure they are not interfered with by trophy hunters and are protected. Also interesting to know more about them as I think it’s fascinating like most other people I know.”

“Would love to see the one that came into the field with my horses regularly, and startled them.”

“To use them to promote tourism would have the opposite affect of leaving them alone and protecting them.”

“Think I saw one in Black Mountains in Wales – big and black.”

“A work colleague and I saw one approximately 2am one night in January 2012. No doubt whatsoever and we were sceptics until then”.

Results of attitude survey at the event

Each participant allowed two votes on list below.

Big cats in the local landscape – your view

Use them to promote tourism for the area 0
It’s worrying 2
Cull them 1
It’s exciting 22
Put up information signs 7
Survey them 21
Leave them alone 27
Not sure about it 1
Humanely trap them 2
Don’t believe it 0

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