Whatever killed Gloucestershire deer, it wasn't a panther...
DNA tests have concluded that a mystery beast lurking in the Gloucestershire countryside, suspected of being responsible for grisly attacks on deer, is not the "big cat" that locals feared.
The tests, commissioned by the National Trust last month, were the first attempts to use DNA to verify long-standing rumours that big cats live wild in parts of the UK. Two deer carcasses were found in Woodchester Park, near Stroud last month.
Scientists at the University of Warwick tested 45 samples from the two carcasses and failed to detect any cat DNA. Undeterred, local big cat enthusiasts remain convinced that something is out there. Experts said at the time that the deer bore all the hallmarks of a big cat kill.
David Armstrong, head ranger for the National Trust in Gloucestershire, said: "The story of the investigation of the dead deer has really sparked off local curiosity with a lot of people coming out to Woodchester Park to explore.
"People love a mystery like this and although we haven't found a wild cat, many of our visitors clearly believe there might be something interesting living quietly hidden in Woodchester."
Rick Minter, author of a new book on big cats in Britain, said the results brought them no closer to the truth, but hoped that suspected big cats sightings would be investigated again in the future.
"We should not be complacent about possible big cats in the UK," he said. "But considering these animals living secretly in our landscape can fire people's imaginations and help us consider all of the wild nature around us."
Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
At long last, Australia is able to halt the relentless advance of the cane toad
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...