Conference is on the trail of the big cat|Ed Malone||03/24/06 at 08:23:28|obadiah|xx|0||

Conference is on the trail of the big cat

ENTHUSIASTS, philosophers, writers and zoologists will gather in Marston Trussell at the weekend to celebrate sightings of panther-like creatures in the English countryside.

From tomorrow (Friday) to Sunday The Sun Inn Hotel will host the British Big Cat Conference.
A book launch, night vigil, exhibition of big cat evidence and guided tours are among the activities planned.
It has been organised by author and journalist Merrily Harpur whose book, Mystery Big Cats, will be launched at the opening to the conference. Mrs Harpur is a cartoonist and writer who lives part of the time in Dorset and the rest in Ireland. Her book will be launched on the first evening of the conference by publishers Heart of Albion at 6pm.
After the launch a film about witnesses and investigators of big cat sightings will be shown.
The following day starts with talks from enthusiasts, a guided tour of sighting hot-spots, a question and answer forum, finishing with a demonstration of the equipment used for night vigils.
The final day includes talks from a zoologist, a witnesses' forum and exhibition of film footage and pictures.
Leicestershire and Rutland Panther Watch co-ordinators Nigel and David Spencer are among those Mrs Harpur has invited to take part.
David Spencer, from Knossington near Oakham, who has been recording sightings since 1995, said: "I still think the powers that be don't recognise the fact there are cats out there.
"We are getting a lot of reports coming in, more than ever.
"For people to deny the fact they exist is just incredible now."
The event is open to all; tickets for the whole weekend are 20 in advance or 25 at the door.
For more information call the Sun Inn Hotel on 01858 433155.
23 March 2006