On the tail of the Fen Tiger|jon_downes|jon@cfz.org.uk|05/14/04 at 22:46:52|jon_downes|xx|0|4.34.191.96|On the tail of the Fen Tiger

14 May 2004
By Jo Stagg

SPECULATION surrounding the existence of big cats in Cambridgeshire has been fuelled by another reported sighting.

Vernon Whiterod caught sight of a large feline while travelling from Waterbeach to his home in Histon Road, Cottenham, at 10.15pm on Sunday.

"I saw it, no doubt about it," said the 63-year-old Cambridge University cleaner. "I could see these two greeny blue eyes looking at me. The lights of the car behind me were on it and I could see the shape of the animal quite well. I could see its face. It was a bit dark around the muzzle. It was a blotchy fawn colour. I could not see its tail.

"It was bigger than a fox and was about the size of a labrador bitch. It was long and thin along the back."

Mr Whiterod said the creature showed no interest in the cars and was looking towards Landbeach Pit, a popular habitat for geese and rabbits.

After consulting a colleague's book, he believes the animal was similar to an ocelot which lives in Central and South America and is threatened with extinction in Texas.

Mr Whiterod returned to the site at the corner of Denny End Road and the A10 near Waterbeach the next day and found some fawn coloured hairs stuck to a twig.

"I do not know whether there is enough for anybody who knows what they are doing to analyse it," he said.

It is not the first time that Mr Whiterod has spotted a strange creature in the area. He glimpsed the long tail of a cat in undergrowth around three years ago and saw a pair of green eyes shining back at him five years ago.

Rumours of a large, cat-like creature - popularly known as the Fen Tiger - date back to the 1950s.  
There were 34 reported big cat sightings in Cambridgeshire between January 2003 and March 2004.

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