Have your say: what is the 'Essex lion'?

This is the photograph that sparked a huge police operation in Essex this weekend.

The Essex lionStephen and Gill Atkin

Officers spent almost 24 hours combing the countryside around Clacton-on-Sea after a group of residents claimed to have seen a lion near Earls Hall Drive in St Osyth.

What creature do you think the 'Essex lion' is?

36656 responses

  1. Lion

  2. Wildcat

  3. Large domestic cat

  4. Puppet

  5. None of the above


Zooworkers armed with tranquilliser guns joined police officers in the search, which also employed helicopters with heat-seeking equipment.

Residents were concerned amid reports that the lion might have escaped from a circus that had visited the area recently.

Eventually the search was called off and police said it was possibly either a wildcat or a large domestic cat that had been seen. Although residents and anyone walking in Claction's countryside was warned to stay 'vigilant and cautious'.

What do you think the creature in this photograph is? Have a vote in our poll and then leave your comments in the section below.