Experts say Gloucestershire big cat will not attack humans
FEARS that big cats could be a danger to people have been allayed by a tracker who believes one is living on the edge of Gloucester.
After three new big cat sightings in the city last week, there were calls for police to patrol the streets.
But Frank Tunbridge, who has been staking them out for decades, said the public shouldn't worry.
Mr Tunbridge said big cat attacks are extremely rare.
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"There has not been a serious attack in the UK going back 30 years," he said. "They may take a domestic dog but they will stay away from humans."
Yesterday The Citizen reported how John Wildsmith saw an animal with an arched back, narrow neck and head, around the same size as an Alsatian dog, near his home, and there have been similar sightings in Kingsway and Barnwood.
There was a report from near Hempsted tip on January 17, and Tuffley milkman Ian Coward saw two on his rounds in Kaskelot Way and St Swithuns Road in Hempsted in October 2010.
Mr Tunbridge believes a large black cat may be living in and around the Hempsted area for long periods.
"It's been sighted by a number of people in that area now," he said. "It could well be spending some periods of time in that area, though not exclusively. It is a very credible sighting."
Joy Stone saw a big cat prowling at Portway, Upton St Leonards, on February 4, at around 4.30pm.
"I was out walking a dog and suddenly, I saw this big, black thing grazing on the grass," said Mrs Stone, from Cheltenham. "It saw the dog at first and got up, put its head down at an angle and stared long and hard like it had seen some dinner.
"Then it saw me and ran off. It was not a domestic cat, that's for sure. It was the size of a Labrador."