Cameras donated in bid to capture Gloucestershire big cat on film
ATTEMPTS to capture images of pumas and black leopards prowling the county have stepped up a notch.
Electronics store Maplin and Swann Communications have teamed up in a bit to snap the infamous big cats in Gloucestershire, which so far have proved to be somewhat elusive. There have been several sightings over the years in the Forest of Dean, Stroud, Bishop's Cleeve and elsewhere, but as of yet, no concrete evidence of their presence has been caught on film.
Now, the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester is receiving 20 motion-detection cameras as a donation to its study on feral big cats, with a key focus on Gloucestershire.
County based big cats researcher and author Rick Minter is helping to oversee the study.
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He said: "The cameras will give us a real head start on what will be a challenging task.
"Even in their native countries, cats such as pumas and black leopards are rarely seen. Here in Gloucestershire, using these cameras in clusters of two or three will give us a better chance of filming any such cats in their territories.
"When placing the cameras we will look for key routes of mammals, such as crossing points across streams, and trails through gaps in hedges."
He added: "All of my community surveys, in Gloucestershire and elsewhere, indicate that people want the mystery of big cats studied in a responsible way, so we can begin to understand these animals.
Maplin, which has stores in Gloucester and Cheltenham, stock the Swann OutbackCam, which costs £99. Dr Andrew Hemmings of the Royal Agricultural College said: "Photographic evidence is a crucial strand of the work currently under way at the Royal Agricultural College.
"Maplin and Swann have contributed significantly to our capability in this regard, allowing much improved coverage of current hot-spots for big cat sightings."