The Beast of Boreham?

Older readers may remember the publicity surrounding the reported sightings of a big cat on Bodmin Moor some years ago. As well as the sightings there were several half eaten animals found whose deaths couldn’t be attributed to a native animal. However, I don’t believe its existence was ever proved, sightings faded, and the story was believed to be a hoax by some. Now I am asking the question, does our part of Essex have its own predator prowling the fields and woods?

A while back I was fishing a private lake on the outskirts of Boreham. I had been there all night and had got up around 4.30am to make a cup of tea. As I stood there waiting for the kettle to boil I glanced up and looked along the path that runs in a straight line through a plantation of Christmas trees. About 75 yards away two adult geese were waddling away from me along the path, suddenly there was a blur of movement from the right and the two geese became one. The remaining goose took off with a squawk of alarm. Tea made, curiosity got the better of me, so I walked, mug in hand, along the path to check the “scene of the crime”. On reaching the approximate spot I scanned the ground, not a spot of blood or a feather to be seen. I did a search of quite a large area but found nothing. At the time I presumed that a fox was responsible. However, thinking about it afterwards, it would have to be a pretty powerful animal to carry away a goose of that size. In my time I have seen hundreds of foxes and on two occasions I have even seen them walking on the pavement outside my house in Springfield. Now none of these foxes was any bigger than a medium sized dog and a pretty skinny one at that. So could it have been something other than a fox that carried away that goose?

On recounting the above to an angling acquaintance he told me that once, whilst he was driving along the back road between Boreham and Gt Baddow, he had seen a black panther crossing the field close to the lake. I quizzed him about whether he could have mistaken a black labrador for a panther but he was adamant about what he and his girlfriend had seen and no, they hadn’t been drinking. So there you have it hardly conclusive evidence that a big cat roams around our area, but, here’s where you come in, some of you reading this will be keen cyclists, joggers or ramblers. Have any of you seen anything resembling a big cat whilst enjoying the countryside? Also are there any experts on foxes out there, if so please write in and confirm that a skinny fox can carry /drag a full grown goose a considerable distance, so that I can rest easy whilst night fishing in this area.

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