Friday, 1 February 2008

Home of the Exmoor Beast lures big cat conference delegates

A THREE-day conference on the phenomenon of big cat sightings in the wild is to be held next month in West Somerset – home to the famous ‘Beast of Exmoor’.
‘Experts’ and others interested in the subject will be attending from all over the country to discuss the increasing number of big cat eyewitness accounts.
The event, hosted by Washford animal centre Tropiquaria, is the second annual conference of the Big Cats in Britain group and takes place on Friday to Sunday, March 7 to 9.
Tropiquaria owner Chris Moiser will hold a public debate and a press conference on the Friday which will be an opportunity for local people to discuss their experiences, ask questions, and decide whether they should attend the full conference.
The weekend will include a ‘big cat hotspot tour’ arranged by Exmoor Big Cat Research Group members Anthony Bevan and Christopher Johnston, who have studied reports in the area for many years.
They will give delegates a greater insight into what has been seen in the area over the years.
The ‘Exmoor Beast’ was first reported in the 1970s, following a spate of sheep killings, and in the years since then there have been ‘sightings’ of big cats all over the country.
Big Cats in Britain receives an average of three sightings a day and claims ‘people are more likely to see a big cat rather than a pig’.
There were 37 reports of big cats last year and the group wants to hear from anybody who believes they may have seen a big cat in West Somerset.
People are being invited to submit photographic and physical evidence to the conference.
BCIB organiser Mark Fraser (pictured, with a revack cat skin) said: “There is so much interest in big cat sightings now, and this will be a chance for people to hear from experts, as well as the many people who have actually seen them with their own eyes.
“We are especially interested in hard evidence such as photographs, casts, etc. Complete anonymity will be given to witnesses.
“Everybody is welcome to attend the conference and it should be a weekend to remember.”
An award will also be made to the person BCIB feels has worked the hardest in the interests of British big cat research, whether or not they are a member of the group.
For more information on the conference, visit or call Mark Fraser on 07940 016972.

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