First, a quick thanks to Dave Baldwin for highlighting this on Facebook.
The Telegraph reported on 6th March on a dossier released by Natural England (the public body responsible for protecting and improving England’s natural environment), which contained reports of over 100 exotic animals in England. The reports are from 2001 to 2007 and cover pretty much the whole of England. By far the most commonly reported exotics were Alien Big Cats, with wild boar a distant second. Some of my favourite species sighted are capybaras and racoon dogs in Reading, a coatimundi in Cumbria, a prairie dog in Buckinghamshire and a walleroo in Cornwall.
What amazes me is how few reports there are! Reports of both wild boar and ABCs seem to be miniscule in number compared to the number of sightings (and trace marks) that I am aware of. I’m sure that Neil Arnold’s book Mystery Animals of the British Isles: Kent has more reports of ABCs just in Kent than Natural England have had reported across the whole of England! There has to be some link in the chain missing between the person who has evidence for an animal and the governmental body in place to collect the reports. Someone with a better knowledge of the police force and government policy would know more than me about if the police have to report sightings reported to them to Natural England, or if Natural England only collects reports from the public if they contact Natural England specifically.
Anyway, you can read the whole dossier here, as well as the Telegraph’s coverage: