Does big cat really exist? |Richard_Femail@example.com|01/10/07 at 14:09:35|richard_f|xx|0|188.8.131.52|Does big cat really exist?
WILDLIFE fanatics will have the chance to see whether the legendary Hartlepool "big cat" really does exist.
Sightings of panthers and pumas in and around Hartlepool and the North-East have been reported for decades.
But the issue has still not been resolved as to whether the illusive creatures really roam around the countryside fringes of town.
Jonathan Pounder, of Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, and Hartlepool Borough Council's countryside wardens will be hosting the Path of the Panther walk this weekend.
And they will help people to make up their own mind about the wildlife mystery.
Jonathan said: "With all of the sightings and field evidence so far, it makes you wonder if there really is these wonderful creatures living out there with us.
"A testimony to their adaptability is the fact that we rarely see them and they leave very little evidence behind.
"This walk will go through areas where sightings and evidence has been found in the past, as well as going through some of the wonderful countryside that makes up the fringe of Hartlepool.
"At the end of the day we will leave it up to each individual to make up their own minds to the existence of the Hartlepool Black Panther."
The Mail has carried dozens of stories over the years of people claiming to have seen the big cats.
But their stories are almost always trashed by experts who say the animals are extremely shy and would never get close to man.
On one occasion, Durham Police's wildlife liaison officer Inspector Eddie Bell, who believes the animals do live alongside us, said: "One of the dangers is when people say 'it looked a bit like a picture of a puma'.
01 December 2006