Ilkley 'big cat': Expert tracker says sighting could be genuine

A big cat expert believes that photos taken of a 'beast' on Ilkley Moor could be genuine.

The animal (circled) on Ilkley Moor
The animal (circled) on Ilkley Moor

John Bilney has examined the image taken at the Cow and Calf rocks by Leeds student Billy Holmes last week, and thinks the creature pictured displays telltale signs of classic feline behaviour.

The Gloucestershire-based cat hunter has spent years tracking the beasts in the British countryside.

"The photo looks good and the location looks ideal for a cat to sit. It's high up so it can see its main prey of rabbit - an easy snack.

"There is water in a puddle in the picture, which it also needs, and though a cat normally hides away in the daytime it will still come out for a bit of warm sunshine.

"If the wind was coming from the direction of the cat it would be the only way he (Billy) could have got that close without the cat hearing or smelling him.

"If it had rained the night before it is more likely it would come out a bit hungry in the daytime.

"He also said it was muscular. When you see a big cat close it's the one thing that sticks in your mind."

It's not the first time a big cat has apparently been spotted in the area - here's a history of sightings of mysterious beasts in Yorkshire.