Akenham: Is slayed deer a sign Claws is back?

Is Suffolk’s notorious black cat Claws back on the prowl?

A deer found dead off a farm track in Akenham, just north of Whitton, has today prompted fears the big cat could have returned to the fields surrounding Ipswich.

Suffolk police received reports of the slayed deer from a member of the public who said he discovered the animal with “puncture wounds on the throat” at around 9.50am on Saturday.

A force spokesman said: “It’s a rural area and this man says he found a large deer that’s been attacked in the neck. He says it had puncture marks on the throat.”

The man, who later disposed of the dead deer, told police that he had found a deer dying and believed the marks could have been inflicted by a big cat.

Police said they had logged the incident but no further “sightings” had been reported.

While some residents in Akenham said the deer could have died following an attack from any animal, others were shocked to hear of the incident, which follows in a long line of big cat sightings from across the county.

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The story of Claws goes back as far as 1996, when a member of the public reported sightings of what looked like a panther in the Foxhall Road area of Ipswich. In May 1998, two wildlife watchers in Holton St Mary saw a black cat running across the A12.

In 2003 June Fooks of Eye reported seeing a cat bigger than her Labrador prowling in her garden.

Meanwhile in November 2012 there were reports of a big cat at a landfill site in Great Blakenham.

Dave Sadler, of the Unknown Phenomena Investigation Association, said while the big cat theory was “plausible”, the deer could have been killed as part of “culling season”.

“It is plausible however evidence suggests that there aren’t big cats in the wild,” he said.

“The more likely option is that it is culling season. We have had a similar incident not far away so this is the second incident of its kind in about two weeks.”