Derbyshire big cat: Recent sightings in the county as DNA confirms there is a big cat in the UK

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We have taken a look at recent big cat sightings in Derbyshire after a DNA analysis confirmed that there is a big cat roaming the British countryside.

The DNA of a big cat has been identified from a swab taken from the remains of a dead sheep in the Lake District.

It has been announced today (May 17) that the Panthera genus was found following a DNA analysis carried out at the University of Warwick. This is the first time ever that a big cat DNA was found on animal remains in the UK.

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Following the discovery, speculations started on whether the evidence proves the existence of an individual big cat in the Lake District or whether it suggests that there are several big cats roaming the British countryside.

Josh and his friend Ben are convinced they came across a big cat in the Peak District in September 2022.Josh and his friend Ben are convinced they came across a big cat in the Peak District in September 2022.
Josh and his friend Ben are convinced they came across a big cat in the Peak District in September 2022.

Last year Amazon released the documentary Panthera Britannia Declassified - which sparked heated discussions on presence of big cats in the UK.

Below, we summed up reports of big cat sightings in Derbyshire and the Peak District in the recent months and years.

Reports of Derbyshire big cat sightings

In July 2023, Bernadette Hall and her husband discovered bones in a tree in the Stanton Moor area and Rick told the Derbyshire Times the skeletal remains are potential signs of black leopards in the area.

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An Amazon documentary Panthera Britannia Declassified has caused heated discussions on the big cats roaming across the country. The documentary, which features this picture, claims that it is the 'best photo of a British big cat that exists'. Photo: Dragonfly Films / SWNSAn Amazon documentary Panthera Britannia Declassified has caused heated discussions on the big cats roaming across the country. The documentary, which features this picture, claims that it is the 'best photo of a British big cat that exists'. Photo: Dragonfly Films / SWNS
An Amazon documentary Panthera Britannia Declassified has caused heated discussions on the big cats roaming across the country. The documentary, which features this picture, claims that it is the 'best photo of a British big cat that exists'. Photo: Dragonfly Films / SWNS

A few weeks later Paul Stocks, and his two sons Jacob, 20 and Ben, 23, from the Mystic Paranormal UK group, decided to look for the leopard in the Stanton Moor area and were left shocked after they spotted a ‘big black cat’ just six feet away from them.

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The men described the animal as a very large, silky black cat with a very long swooping tail. They said it was much bigger than a fox and it moved exactly like the big cats you see on TV.

In 2022 more sightings were reported - Josh Williams and his friend Ben were walking from Mermaid’s Pool on Kinder Scout towards Edale in September, returning home after a night of wild camping in the Peak District. They had just passed Jacob’s Ladder when the pair spotted and recorded what they thought was a wild cat with a ‘long black tail’ in a nearby field.

A few weeks earlier, YouTuber Novice Wildcamper who travels around the UK and records videos of his camping trips heard a growling sound while visiting White Edge. The video which he published on his channel had over 600 comments with many people saying that the growl sounds exactly like a big cat such as black leopard or lynx.

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In July last year, two hikers discovered bones in a tree in the Stanton Moor area, which could be a proof of a big cat feasting in Derbyshire, according to the big cat expert. Photo: Bernadette HallIn July last year, two hikers discovered bones in a tree in the Stanton Moor area, which could be a proof of a big cat feasting in Derbyshire, according to the big cat expert. Photo: Bernadette Hall
In July last year, two hikers discovered bones in a tree in the Stanton Moor area, which could be a proof of a big cat feasting in Derbyshire, according to the big cat expert. Photo: Bernadette Hall

In November 2022, Gareth Brimelow was walking by the River Dane in the Peak District, on the path to the bridge at Three Shires Head – where the borders of Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire meet, when he noticed a number of carcasses along the route, as well as what he thought could be the paw print of a big cat.

More sightings have been reported in Derbyshire since 2014 – including in Dunston Moor, St Helen's, Eckington, Ticknall and more.

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