Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lions in Britain

Merrily Harpur has an interesting new article online at the Fortean Times website. The subject-matter: apparent sightings of lions in Britain! Here's the link; however, you may have to sign-up with the website to read the article.


Neil A said...

Lions and tigers may well escape on occasion from zoo parks, circuses, but there's no way on Earth such cats could survive without detection in the UK. Smaller cats are a different kettle, but considering a lion will seek a pride, and sightings of such beasts seem inconsistent, these stories shouldn't persist.

Nick Redfern said...

Cheers Neil - very valid points.

cryptidsrus said...

Good points indeed, Neil.

Merrily Harpur DOES collect good ABC sightings---whatever the true nature of some of them are, ultimately.

Good post and good research.

Neil A said...

The problem is, we should be seeking consistency and not cataloguing vague reports of lions, tigers, mutant felids and the likes. Only then can we determine what species, and their numbers are roaming the UK. What's the point in lowering research to the standards of the UK newspaper type, where we begin to see reports of "monster cats", and "lions on the loose".

The true nature of the reports is what's important, so no longer should we be hearing about 'ABCs' which is such a vile Fortean word, and no longer should the paranormal be connected to such animals.

cryptidsrus said...


Good point, definitely.

The "ABC" appellation I got from popular terminology and Fortean Times, which apparently has no problem with the term. Go figure. :)

I had no idea that it was not considered "Fortean" by some to use that term---
You learn something new everyday.

I guess "Mystery Felines" would be better? :)

Neil A said...

Fortean Times originally covered the mystery cat sightings in the '70s, and didn't have a clue where such animals had come from. Like Charles Fort, there was a naivety which got researchers thinking these cats were spectral, or had been teleported from some distant place. And yet this was during a time when so many cats were being purchased, as well as released into the wilds, hence the explosions of sightings.

There is nothing 'alien' about these cats, I think 'alien' is a damaging term, and also the fact thats it's rarely pointed out that the only 'big cat' in the UK is the black leopard. The puma is not a 'big cat' (of course, in size relation to a domestic cat it's big) but it is in fact the largest of the Lesser Cats, for it cannot roar like the jaguar, leopard, lion, tiger...

'Mystery felines' cannot be applied as a term either, 'felids' yes, but 'felines' not. Feline describes the manner of their gait, i.e. "..the cat was feline in its movement", but to say, "I've seen a big feline" is incorrect, the term is felid.

I'm not a Fortean, or anything of the sort, and think some of these terms are very misleading. The are British exotic cats.

Anonymous said...

I checked out the FT feature :- the C16th Ralph Holinshed was mentioning a 3rd party story of what sounded like a viable population of lions in N.Scotland.An uncritical citation of a very unlikely story.
The only convincing recent report was from Devon 11 years ago- perhaps the last abandoned pet lion after the legislation changes.
I think I'm right in saying that convincing lion sightings have dwindled to zero in recent years.