On this day in Yorkshire 29th September 2003- Humberside police declares there are big cats roaming East Yorkshire

Humberside police became the first force in the country to declare that there are big cats roaming around on their patch on this day in 2003. This followed eighty reports of sightings and death of livestock, believed to have been caused by big cats wandering the East Yorkshire countryside, including the death of three sheep at a farm in Little Weighton.

The increase in sightings of big cats in the wild can be traced back to a change in the law in 1976, which prohibited the keeping of large cats as pets without a license. Before the “Dangerous and Wild animal Act” came into force keeping these creatures were popular with the rich and had become a fashion accessory. After the act was enforced it caused some of them, who did not wish to pay for this license to abandon their exotic pets in the wild . It is possible that these animals, including species such as black leopards or pumas have bred and formed small populations in areas such as the Yorkshire Wolds, leading to a surge in sightings and the killing of farm animals.

Cover picture credit: Qilinmon wikipedia creative commons.