Slimline black panther spotted in Gloucestershire
"IT was not a dog, a wild boar or a sheep, it was a slimline panther."
Those were the words of Chris Roberts, 59, who spotted a big cat sauntering across Newnham Road on Thursday at 9.30am.
The former boxer and rugby player said he knows it was a big cat because he has seen one before – when it almost knocked him off his motorbike.
On that occasion, in the 1990s, he was riding along the A40 near Ross-on-Wye when it jumped "over a 6ft hedge and clipped my shoulder and my helmet and out the corner of my eye I saw this unmistakable big cat".
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He added: "I am a big man, about 17st, and that cat was a big one. It must have been around 100lb."
On Thursday, Mr Roberts was driving towards Littldean when he was forced to slow when a sleak black animal jumped over a hedge and landed on the road. It then preceded to canter across the road before disappearing down a country lane.
"It just landed in front of my car about 30ft away, and there is no mistaking what it was. It was not a dog, it was not a wild boar or a sheep, it was a slimline panther."
A dog lover, Mr Roberts claims he can identify any breed and this animal was undoubtedly a cat.
He added: "It had a long tail about the length of its body, a slinky, athletic gait and a block-like head. You could just tell by the way it moved that it was a big cat.
"I know they are out there."
Big cat tracker Frank Tunbridge said big cats have now bred to the extent that there is a specific type prevalent in Gloucestershire.