Police Hunt For Lion In English Countryside (And Fail To Find One)

cat, lion
A mysterious beast stalks the fields of Essex, England.

Over the weekend local police received calls from a number of eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen a lion in the fields near the village of St. Osyth. One person even snapped a predictably blurry and inconclusive picture of the beast. I’m not a wildlife expert but it looks like a house cat to me.

Police took the sightings seriously enough to scramble two helicopters and a team of officers and wildlife experts. They also checked with a local zoo and circus but neither reported a missing feline. After a long search they found … nothing.

A police spokesman said the sightings were probably due to “a large domestic cat or a wildcat,” the BBC reports. Police have called off the search and told people to enjoy themselves outdoors while remaining cautious. They should also have told them to stop overfeeding their pets with chips and kebabs and wasting police time.

This odd incident is actually part of a much bigger trend in the UK. Alien Big Cats, as they’re called, are giant felines not native to the area where they are spotted. Of course they’re never actually found. That would ruin the fun. We reported on one jaguar-like creature in Scotland three years ago and that’s just a drop in the Alien Big Cat bucket. The Big Cats in Britain research group has collected 240 different reports so far this year.

So why do Brits see lions and pumas in their fields while Americans get buzzed by UFOs? I guess it’s just one of those cultural differences we should all celebrate and not analyze too much. So next time you’re hiking in the UK, be sure to keep your camera out of focus. You might just start the next wave of Alien Big Cat sightings.

Don’t scoff too much, though. One woman said she was attacked by an Alien Big Cat. I’ve hiked a lot in England and Scotland and while I’ve never been attacked by an ABC (yes, that’s what they call them), I did nearly get attacked by cows.

[Photo courtesy Jennifer Barnard. As far as I know, this particular cat has never been the cause of a lion sighting]

Photo Of The Day: White Tiger

It’s rare to get up close and personal with an elusive animal like the white tiger, so I was intrigued when I saw today’s photo choice by Flickr user toffiloff. Taken at Bali’s Safari and Marine Park, the shot captures this magnificent cat as it appears to stare at its own reflection in a mirror. I love the fearsome growl, the piercing blue eyes and the interesting perspective from behind. Hopefully our photographer was not inside the animal enclosure to take this neat shot!

Have any great wildlife shots from your travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Alaska Town Has Cat For A Mayor

Stubbs the Cat, Mayor of a small town in AlaskaThe sleepy little town of Talkeetna, Alaska (Population: 875), has made headlines around the globe in recent days when it was revealed that the community’s mayor is actually a cat named Stubbs. Local residents aren’t sure what all the fuss is about, however, as Stubbs has held that office for over 15 years.

Apparently, back in 1997 the locals weren’t exactly pleased with their choices in mayoral candidates, so several of them organized a write in campaign to elect Stubbs, who was just a newborn kitten at the time. They managed to convince enough of the other residents to back their feline candidate and when the votes were eventually counted, Stubbs was named the winner.

Since that time, the cat, who is part manx, has held the office of Honorary Mayor and has become quite the local celebrity. Visitors to Talkeetna often drop by Stubbs’ favorite hangout, Nagley’s General Store, just to catch a glimpse of the kitty that became king. The store reportedly gets several dozen visitors per day who simply stop in just to meet the mayor.

As a cat owner, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by this story. My cat already thinks he’s in charge around my place and I’m convinced he believes he could rule the world given half a chance. Running a small town in Alaska probably isn’t much of a stretch at all.

[Photo credit: AP/Sandy Bubar]

Photo of the Day: another Internet cat photo


If you spend much time searching the Internet, you’ll find millions of photos of cats. People spend hours browsing sites like ICanHasCheezburger? and CuteOverload to find funny or adorable images of animals. You might say that cat photos (okay, probably porn too) are the backbone of the Internet. Animals are a favorite photo subject of travelers as well, whether we’re marveling at the number of street cats in Istanbul or whale watching in California. Flickr user canomike spotted this lady in Thailand about to contribute more cat photos to the world and having a great time with her subjects.

Share your favorite animal photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.