Help Find The Beast of Dartmoor
Over the last year, I have spoken to so many people who claim to have seen the Beast of Dartmoor. Of these, although slightly uncertain of exactly which species of large cat they were looking at, not one was in doubt of what they had seen and that it was not native to Dartmoor.
The number of sightings is in my opinion in the hundreds per year and lead me to believe that Dartmoor is home to a stable breeding population of large cats. Many of the people I have spoken to have witnessed the "Beast" near Ivybridge in Devon. Close to the Dartmoor Zoological Park, which prior to Ben Mee's acquisition was run in a very dubious manner, this is truly a hotspot of activity.
If you are wanting to solve the mystery of the Beast of Dartmoor, then this is a very good place to start.
If you have seen something, please contact us as soon as possible after the sighting, so we can investigate this while evidence
is still available.
Quote from email in early January 2012 from an observant young lady travelling..
"About 2 months ago i saw what looked like a big sandy/beige coloured cat stallking some sheep in a field just out side of Ivybridge. I was on a train going to Exeter as the train slowed down a bit I saw it very clearly. It was about 2 x the size a full grown labrador ( I have one) with a long tail like a cat going down to the floor. The sheep clearly knew it was there as they was all huddled in a group up at the top of the field near the gate. The big cat seemed to be crawling along almost on it's belly getting closer to them, sort off using the cover of some very large logs that was in the middle of this field that was quite hilly." (Name witheld for Privacy)View this wall post
Beast of Dartmoor - The Prime Suspect
Puma - Felis Concolor
The Puma or Mountain Lion is the prime suspect in this mystery.
This powerful predator is amazingly adaptable and inhabits the Americas, where it is also known as a puma, cougar, and catamount. It is found in a variety of habitats, from Florida swamps to Canadian forests and mountains.
Mountain lions like to prey on deer, though they also eat smaller animals such as coyotes, porcupines, and raccoons. Sheep, rabbits and hares, plentiful on Dartmoor, will be sure to offer yearound nourishment to a family of Pumas.
They usually hunt at night or during the hours of dawn and dusk. These cats employ a blend of stealth and power, stalking their prey until an opportunity arrives to pounce, then going for the back of the neck with a fatal bite. They will hide large carcasses and feed on them for several days after.
Mountain lions once roamed nearly all of the United States. They were prized by hunters and despised by farmers and ranchers who suffered livestock losses at their hands. Subsequently, by the dawn of the 20th century, mountain lions were eliminated from nearly all of their range in the Midwest and Eastern U.S.
Mountain lions require a lot of room and are unwelcoming to fellow Pumas. However, Dartmoor with 368 square miles of rocky moorland and a steady supply of prey roaming wild, is heaven on earth for Mountain Lions. They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans and this adds to their not being acknowledged as a true inhabitant yet.