Cryptid079 Beast of Bodmin Moor
Location: Cornwall, England
Type: Super Animal
Evidence: Paw prints, various sightings, livestock casualties
Possible Population size: Unknown
I was never really into the alien big cat subcategory of cryptozoology, mostly because it seems rather mundain compaired to the likes of Nessie, Bigfoot, and the Chupacabra; but for some reason, the Beast of Bodmin Moor has stuck with me to this day. More than likely because Beast of Bodmin Moor sounds like the title of a 50's horror movie or someting you'd see in a D&D monster manual. What ever the case, I figure I'd take it upon myself to do this one, since no one else seems to be intrested.
In the early 1990s reports started to circulate of an Alien Big Cat, or possibly a group of them, living in and around Cornwall, England, primarily in a southwestern region known as Bodmin Moor, where a large number of livestock were found slain, presumably by a leopard like feline. Talk of dangerous wild cats led Great Britains Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to conduct an official investigation into the phenomena in 1995. The investigation released its findings on July 19th of that same year and concluded that there was no verifiable evidence of Alien Big Cats existing in England and that the mauled farm animals could have been attacked by an indigenous species. However that same report also conceded that the investigation could not prove that an Alien Big Cat was not present in England.
On July 24th, less than a week after the Ministry released its report on Alien Big Cats, a 14 year old boy named Barney Lanyon Jones was walking with his brothers on the banks of the Fowey River near the southern edge of Bodmin Moor when he saw a out of place object floating in the river. Barney thought the object was an oddly shaped rock until he pulled it out of the water and discovered that it was not a rock but the skull of a large cat. The skull, though missing the lower jaw, measured about 4 inches wide and 7 inches long, it possessed two sharp prominent teeth that suggested the skull had come from a leopard. On July 31st the story of this skull hit the national press which presented a well timed rebuttal to the official denial of Alien Big Cat evidence in Bodmin Moor by the governments investigation.
The skull was turned over to Londons British Museum of Natural History by the Lanyon Jones family to verify its authenticity. It was then examined by the museums assistant keeper of zoology, Doctor Ian Bishop; who determined that the skull was genuine and belonged to a young male leopard. Further investigation led Doctor Bishop to conclude that the leopard did not die in England, but instead had been imported as part of a leopard skin rug. He noted that the back of the skull had been cleanly cut off in a way that is commonly used to mount a head on a rug, he also found the egg case of a tropical cockroach, not found in Englands climate, inside of the skull. In addition he found fine cut marks on the skull indicating that the skin of the leopard had been removed with a knife.
Sightings of the Beast of Bodmin Moor continue to this day including more than 300 in 1996 alone. In October of 1997, officials from Newquay Zoo claimed to have identified paw prints discovered in mud to the south of Bodmin Moor as the fresh tracks of a puma. Shortly after the discovery of these prints a photograph, allegedly of the Beast of Bodmin Moor, was brought to light, the image in the photo appeared to be an apparently pregnant, adult female puma. This photograph caused much debate in the scientific community and added fuel to the debate of the existence of Alien Big Cats living in England, these photos were never authenticated or conclusively debunked and remains a controversial piece of evidence to his day.
I personally have two theories.
1: The Beast of Bodmin Moor is a hoax, possibly a practical joke played by someone with a little too much time on their hands. The skull could have been a failed attempt to plant evidence (The perpetrator not realizing that forensic scientists would be able to tell it was a decoration from a fur-rug).
2: The Beast (and all of it's counterparts) is a normal puma or leopard that escaped from captivity. The skull either a coincidence or someone fooling around with the various sightings. The creatures could possibly be breeding if enough escaped to create a breeding population.
While unlikely, it is still possible that it is a species of unknown big cat that has lived in the less populated areas of England for quite some time. After all, there have been sightings of wolverines in a area of Michigan where they were thought to have gone extinct. So... Nature has a way of making the impossible, possible. Besides, big cats in England are a bit more belivable than your average cryptid, not to say than any aspect of Cryptozoology is any less credible.
Cryptid Files: [link]