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Maybe the Martins thought they were in New York City, where exotic animals like peafowl and a cobra have escaped from zoos. There is plenty of wildlife in England, but usually there are no lions in St. Osyth, a small seaside town. No one told tourists Bob and Denise Martin, who called police to report a lion or at least “a very, very large cat” grooming itself in a field.
The possible lion, possible “very, very large cat” sat looking at the Martins from a distance, which, as you can imagine, was somewhat unnerving. "Lion was the first thing that came into mind but it was several hundred yards away ... it was very impressive," said Mr. Martin. Really, lion was the first thing that came to mind in an English town, nowhere near the African savannah? Mrs. Martin added, "To start with we was convinced it was a lion but the shape of the ears is slightly wrong, but it was the size of a lion. It had a white chest with like a tan, beige-color body."
OK, so we have a lion-sized cat with incorrect ears roaming a field in England.
The police cautioned the public to stay indoors until the feline was found, but they had no luck finding the large cat or any sign of one (like paw prints, droppings, etc.) The local zoo confirmed that all of their lions were accounted for in their enclosure and a nearby circus was questioned, but they had no lions in the first place. So if it hadn’t escaped from a zoo or circus, how did a lion get into a British field?
A member of the public took a photo, but officials from the nearby Colchester Zoo were unable to figure out definitively if the animal was indeed a lion. The photo was of poor quality, so the zoo’s zoological director was only able to tell that there was an animal of a sandy-brown color. The search included two helicopters, 25 police officers, firearm specialists, and workers from the zoo. After not finding any signs of a large animal, the search was called off and the public was told that they could return to business as usual.
One resident of St. Osyth thinks that she knows where the lion came from – her house. It’s really not a lion at all; it is likely Ginny Murphy’s Maine Coon cat, Teddy Bear. Maine Coons are larger than regular housecats, but they definitely aren’t lion-sized. A video on the BBC’s website showed Murphy picking up her house pet, who fits as easily into her arms as large baby. He is a sandy-ginger color, has a white chest, and pointy ear, matching the Martins’ description in every way but the size and the whole being-a-lion thing. Teddy Bear usually hunts in the town’s fields during the day, so it is quite likely that the Martins came across the cat on his daily rounds.
It looks like there are still no lions in St. Osyth, and a pair of tourists either need some new glasses ,or they need to put things in the field for visual reference. That, or they need to look at a photo of a real lion.