9:00am Thursday 24th May 2012
A MESSENGER reader believes she has captured the ‘Beast of Hale’ on film – and says it is definitely not a fox.
Jean Smith took this snap of a creature in a field near her home, the Leas, off Old Meadow Lane, Hale.
It is the second time she has spotted the animal, which she believes may be a savannah cat – a hybrid cat breed which is a cross between the domestic cat and the serval, a wild African cat.
Messenger has carried reports since last year of Hale residents seeing a strange looking animal – dubbed the ‘Beast of Hale’ – in the area.
Readers sent in photographs of what they believed to be this animal, but these were dismissed recently by wildlife experts at the Cheshire Wildlife Trust as being simply images of foxes.
But Jean, aged 65, is convinced the creature she saw is not a common-or-garden fox.
She said: “I am interested in wildlife and I know what a fox looks like. Those other photographs were foxes – but this was definitely not a fox.
“It had long legs, a long, lean, spotted body and a tail almost the length of its body.
“I think it was a savannah cat. It could have been released by somebody.”
A spokesman for the Cheshire Wildlife Trust said the photograph is not clear enough to make a judgement about even what species it is.
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