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A national big cat group has said it is confident the animals are roaming wild in Derbyshire after the discovery of a paw print on farmland.
Wirksworth farmer Peter Ward said he found the three-inch print after his cattle had been frightened last month.
Nigel Spencer, from Big Cats in Britain, said: “It could be a small puma or black leopard or even a lynx.”
A Defra spokesman said: “Any sightings of exotic wild animals can be reported to Natural England or the police.”
He added: “Based on evidence we do not believe there are breeding populations of big cats living in the wild in England.”
Mr Spencer said his group did believe ‘big cats’ had previously been released into the wild and could be breeding in the area.
He said: “We’ve been researching these big cat sightings in the East Midlands since the early 1990s.
“We’re trying to build up a picture of how many there are and what they’re doing.
Source: BBC, ‘Big cat’ print found on farmland
Big Cats in Britain