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Saturday, 27 November 2021

The 2002 EAR Press Notes

 Just a note to make sure that everyone understands that if you are going to use ANY of my material then do so giving full credit to the Exotix Animals Register/Terry Hooper-Scharf or I will make sure to use all of my social media with all of its followers to out you as copyright/data thieves.


I was going through a box earlier and I found these notes put together for a press briefing at a time of high 'big cat' activity in Scotland. This briefing was put together for a specific region. In the course of a week I might have to put 4-5 of these together as well as quote from them when talking to journalists form the UK and elsewhere.

It was not unusual to work most of the day until 0200hrs then get ready for radio interviews in the UK or overseas at 0500hrs.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Setting The Record Straights On UK 'Big Cats' and Their History


A black leopard or panther (c)2021 respective copyright owner


I have been investigating and researching non native cats (as we used to call them) since 1976. Yes, 1976 which was a very long time before the current batch of 'big cat hunters' got their training from You Tube or cut 'n' paste online.

I had to read a lot of books, actually study everything from habitat and the prey-predator ratio as well as looking into aspects of reports that sounded fairly daft but then I learnt that these were things the various cats were observed to do in their recognised regular habitat.

Above Arthur Cadman who maintained observation of pumas in Scotland

There were only a tiny few of us back then taking any interest in the subject -we were not "Forteans" or "cryptozoologists but naturalists and based our work on fact and not fantasy speculation. The late Arthur Cadman observed the pumas in Scotland and accurately predicted to me in a letter that the female named "Felicity" would soon end up trapped. From the original small group I am very sad to report that only I am left (happy to be alive but sad at how many have died over the decades).

I must have spoken wirth many hundreds since 1976 when I considered the subject one where a young naturalist could make his name by proving that it was all just "the occasional escapee". By 1979 any lingering doubts were gone. I could not dismiss reports but then I looked at the period reports covered and though I have owned domesticcats that reached their mid 20s I was unaware of any wild ones that made it to that age. 

(c)2021 Luis Miguel Bugallo Sanchez

But in the years since I -and others including onre university team- have come across well described young cats with their parent or going out on their own after being raised. There was no real doubt about it and in one particular area we knew whether the male or female had killed as each ate in a specific way. Later juveniles were distinguished by being very messy -their mother had not trained them well.

Well, okay. Adult puma and cub -so what? Well, without getting too biological it "takes a male and female to make a baby" so somewhere there must have been a male. 

No. I explained it away to myself as a formerly captive female puma dumped after the implementation of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976 and it was either known or not known to be pregnant.

One witness, a nurse who used to visit Chester Zoo specifically to see the puma there, was out of a country day out with her young daughter when she observed a puma.  Apparently she was in semi shock at the sight in good clear weather and very close by. She got her daughter and both went back to the car -but not before she spotted a smaller cat. Many cited the large and small cat observation as two escapees which is why two different cat types were together. I corresponded with the observer andeven spoke to her once. I sent some images and asked whether she could identify the second cat and she did. It was a juvenile puma and she had described it perfectly and I checked with Chester and they had never had a young puma cub and they hadnothing on display showing what one looked like (even the person I spoke to had never seen one).

Cats only live so long so disease or injury or age and they would be gone. It took me several months to fully digest the next big development and only after a lot off background research did I find I could do nothing but accept it.

Above: not a leopard or cheetah but the back end of a hybrid pet cat


I was talking to a lady who wanted to let me know about her puma sighting but only after asking a lot of questions to determine what my aim was. Satisfied that I had no intention of harming any animals I was  told of her sighting. As with 95% of sighting reports I have received the sighting took place in good light and within 100 yds/100m. Apparently the local school was near to fields and heavy woodland so I told her that it would be good if she advised her children on what to do if there is a cat seen locally and before I went any further she rolled off the advice we would normally give. I asked whether she had looked this up and was told "Oh, no. My mother told me when I was a child" and the penny dropped "Oh, were you raised in Africa or India?" A laugh followed and I was told she was local born and bred.

Of course I was a tad confused but it was explained to me that her own mother had advised her as a child. And, no, her mother had never lived abroad so that led to the question of how she knew and the response to that question was a casual "Her mother told her when she was a kid". I rudely asked the observer for her age and it turns out that she was given the advice in the 1960s. Her mother had received the advice in the 1940s...from her mother. So I got the cold sweat that came with believing I had just been fully taken in by a nut.

To my question "You are saying that your gran was given this advice in the 1940s?"  I was corrected and told that everyone knew about the cats in and around the village since the 1930s and "I thought you knew about these cats?"  Well, I noted it all down and in my notes I wote "hoaxer". I started adding a note to an index card and noticed the village mentioned on a card from 10 years before. It took a few weeks but I could then confirm that there had been cat reports (not publicised) going back to at least the 1940s.  Fluke.

I then had a few calls after a West Country newspaper put out an appeal by "Britain's Big Cat Detective" (after 20years that was still embarrassing).  A lady reported how she and a friend had sighted a large grey cat casually cross the road a few yards from then on a bright summer day. I asked if a cat like that had ever been spotted before and was told that there was what locals called "a daft old lady farmer" who carried a pitchfork where ever she went after encountering one twice. She could not remember the lady's name.

Then an observer from the same village phoned and made his report. I asked whether he knew of anyone else locally who had seen the cat (I cannot give out peoples name under any circumstance) and was told that he could not think of anyone and the local "daft lady with the pitchfork" wouldn't be good back up. So I left it there but then, the week after, I received a call from a lady with a very strong local accent who questioned me about my intentions toward the cats -I got questioned a lot about that! I explained and was told about two close observations around her farm and I asked what village it was closest to? It was the same one I had already noted.

Then came the main encounter where she had been walking along the road next to her hedgerown fence when a "Big grey cat came around the corner" and apparently both stopped, looked at each other before turning and running off in opposite directions. I almost laughed but then told her that if she ever saw the cat again NOT to turn and run. Her next few words almost floored me:

"If I go out around the farm or down to the village I take my pitchfork with me!" 

Yes, I was talking to the "dafty" who was known locally but was anything but daft. She knew "the young uns" called her daft but the older villagers knew about the cats. 

I was used to transitory cat sightings but I was now learning more and more about cats that remained more local and very possibly females. In total I had four reports from the village and no one wanted their names known although I could alleviate theit anxiety (the pitchfork lady had no anxiety on the matter) and tell them the village had seen reports "in the past".

I checked my index cards (nothing on computer as we never had them then and I am a practical naturalist and still use "the old ways") and maps and began to realise something. The same villages kept cropping up and every observation was reported with the added statement "If -IF- you need to let the police know my name okay but I do not want any publicity or others to know that I reported this!" 

"I live in a house at ---" and a quick look at the map "Near to---?" and confirmation. The one good thng with plotting sightings on maps is that you get to see the patterns emerge and "cluster" areas. When I use the term "cluster" it is not to indicate a sudden wave of sightings but observations that can go back decades. If you know the local habitat and the wildlife in it you can then assess whether this points to a recognised territory or just a transitory route and this has lef to discoveries from animal bones showing cat teeth marks, various deposits and in one case even a den area.

Photograph: Frenchwildlifephotographer

I need to repeat that there is only one member of the Big Cat family in the UK and if you have checked out any of the previous posts or videos then you will be aware that the black leopard is not "twice the size of a German shepherd dog" or even "a bit smaller than a pony" and it most certainly is NOT going to show up asa visible big black dot on videpo footage take of a field half a mile away.

Check out this handy size guide:

Despite claims in Fortean or cryptozoological sources there has never been a minutely credible sighting of one of the biggest cats, the tiger, on the loose in the UK countryside (the United States is another matter). Nor has there ever been a credible sighting of a jaguar -this is a claim often made because of the natural size exaggeration by the observer(s).

Let me make it very clear, and both UK police forces as well as the Department for Environment Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) know this, we have the black leopard and I have three reports of what appears to be regular light coloured leopards. The stupidity of claims that a large brown, spotted cat is an "unknown" can be dismissed. Firstly, under the right light a melanistic leopard can appear to have no "spots" or appear almost chocolate brown with spots or jet black or have a bluish sheen to them. Again: this is the only member of the Big Cat family in the UK -we have the pawprints as well as DNA from hair but credible observations by naturalists, police officers and even zoologists.

The puma is a member of the Medium Sized cat family and can range in colour from sandy, brownish, grey and even rarely black -and if yoyu dare say "There is no such thing as a black puma" then you relegate yourself to the the "Ignore. Knows nothing" category of idiocy. When a senior zoologist with an international reputation who has also worked with pumas tells me that in excellent viewing conditions and at close quarters he observered a melanistic puma as it stopped to look at him and he check every diagnostic feature I do not ask "Are you sure it wasn't a leopard?" as one biologist said tome but flatly refused to challengethe zoologist directly (says a lot).

Puma cubs can add to the confusion as people are not familiar with them. Even as juveniles some retain their spotted pattern.

When someone reports seeing a "black puma" to me but then gives me every diagnistic feature of a leopard then things can get a big "shaky". One thing I have heard far to often is "Everyone says in the newspapersthat its a puma!" and after all who is going to argued with what a newspaper writes -they contact me as "the expert" but disagree with what I say because "everyone knows they are pumas" as though tellingh them they have seen a panther is any less important than having seen a puma!  Also, more than once I have been told "It can't be a leopard or there would be dead bodies everywhere!"  At that point I would suggestthey actually read up on the subject.

The lynx has been around for so long that some even seriously contemplated that it might never have been extinct in the UK. Claims that it was the famous "Tiger of the North" that would attack men is totally inaccurate. The "Caledonian" or "Scottish tiger" is Felis sylvestris pure and simple. There are lynx observations note in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th-21st centuries and they can be termed the third most commenly observed cat.

The problem is that we have a lot of the smaller cat species from leopard cats, North African wildcat, Golden cats etc in the UK and to that we can add the released wildcats (F. sylvestris) since at least the 1990s. 

There are millions ofdeer from various species in the UK not to mention many millions of wild rabbits, rats and various birds thatthesecats can live on.  The right habitat and prey species then why not a breeding population?

Numbers in the UK are unknown. You see the idiot fringe spouting off some very dubious facts such as "To maintain a population there would need to be at least 60 panthers in this county" or even "Nationally to maintain a population you would require over a thousand individuals".  Firstly, a leopard or puma could quite happily make its way from Scotland to Cornwall or Kent within a few weeks if stopping off to rest and hunt. "How many do you think there are in Cumbria?" or Kent or any other county I was asked regularly by reporters. The insistence that there had to be a local population ios purely out of ignorance but to attract local readers. A leopard or panther could move around Scotland, move into Cumbria and on through other counties and be seen and in each case it was the 'local big cat'. 

At one time (1970s) we used to wonder why an area had a spate of reports then, for weeks or months nothing then another spate. Firstly, if a cat does not want you to see it then you will not -whether in an open field or wooded area and very few people ever go for a walk and look up into tree branches. In other words the cat is always there but just not seen.  Secondly, and we learnt this fairly early on and later work with a university proved this; cats have territories theywander around. A male puma was eventually found to have a large territory that it journeyed through before it came back around and was the 'local' cat again. It turned out that there were at least two known female pumas whose territory he crossed and probably bred with. The main female puma that the male was associated with had her own recognised territory but it was much smaller with a focussed local area.

Despite the 'expert' claims this is not a "big Cat" but a dog but the enlarged image shows pixellation not a "leopard's spotted pattern"

Below the smaller image

Along with Newquay Zoo it was planned to trap one of the cats (and we had a zoo vet ready) and take measurements and samples and then fit a radio collar to it so that we could map its territory and see if it was attacking sheep and also where it was denning and so on. Everything was set but then DEFRA stepped in and made threats against the zoo and very precise legal threats against me should a puma be trapped and re-released: it had to be homed at a zoo or wildlife park or killed. No option. We found out that one of the team had been informing DEFRA of our plans.

There are certainly NOT "60 resident big cats" in Dorset whether leopards or pumas.

DEFRA and its kill policy is why the paper on these cats will never be released. I have one signed affidavit from a farmer who accidentally trapped a leopard on his property and DEFRA was contacted and the vet who turned up kille it despite hearing that preliminary enquiries showed that a wildlife park would take it on. The body was whisked off to DEFRAs main labs for post mortem and that was it.

Apart from one woman who cornered a lynx in her garden and tried to take a dead wild rabbit from it -and received a very light scratch for her efforts, in over 40 years not one single claim off attack "buy big cat" was found to be true -two cases still noted today involved self inflicted scratches.

Above: the African wildcat


The source of the cats -where they came from to be in the UK countryside- is complex.  

In the Iron Age exotic animals were given to local chieftains or kings by traders from around Europe and Africa -primates and cats probably the most favoured (we will never know). The Romans also introduced animals to Britain and when the Roman legions and any Romanised Britains fled with them or moved to safer areas there is little doubt many exotics escaped or were released that way. 

Exotic animals brought as gifts or for trade by merchants, sailors returning from voyages and then, in the 11th century exotic pets such as leopards became a thing and that exploded into every local lord or baron wanting what the King had and then they set up private menageries with various caged or free roaming animals and even known escapes. 

When it came to the Regency period exotic pets exploded and then in the Victorian era that explosion was followed by a Tsunami of imported exotics of all types being kept -and then there were the travelling menageries both big and small. You had the money you could buy whatever you wanted and that includes the old gent who purchased a full grown tiger at an auction "to keep him company as his wife had recently passed away".

There was another influx of donated "mascot animals" during WW1 and it is interesting that reports of exotic cats picks up after that. There may be another reason for this that research is still ongoing into.

The "mass release" during WW 2 may well be a myth. Those that would own such animals usually had plenty of property (estates) with rivers and game that they could use for themselves and their pets. It is possible that there were escapes as well as releases and that this accounted for the main 1950s sightings though wolves and cats were still escaping in the 1960s.

We have (literally) from the Iron Age to 1976 and the Dangerous Wild Animals Act  which was a knee-jerk reaction similar to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 -a period during which you could buy whatever animal you wanted and there were only some mild restrictions in place that might get you a low fine IF prosecuted.

No doubt much of this post, as with previous ones, will be chopped up and re-used by the 'British Big Cat experts' as their own. That's what they do and since I stopped the EAR Bulltin in 2000 they have been short of new material 😂

This is a complex subject and it is one many jump onto after "doing their time" in the paranormal or UFO field where the obligatory black 'uniforms' were just sooo depressing and cammo and safari or floppy hats looks so much more manly!

Jungle cat (c)2021 respective copyright owner


You and your children, pet or livestock are not about to be torn to shreds and eaten by pony-sized big cats. The local wildlife...they should be more worried. Again, just going back to the 1700s up to 2021 which is...321 years and no one has been killed by a wild living puma or leopard. Deaths have occurred in zoos and circuses because of circumstances in which the animals were scared or mistreated but that is not the natural behaviour of wildcats when it comes to humans -the usual reaction is (as the lady with the pitchfork found out) to run away as fast as possible.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

"Brave Cops Gun Down Terror Beast Cat From Hell!" Is Never Going To Be A Genuine Headline!

 THANKS Hayley de Ronde

🙄Getting big cat flash back.

I take it these are the "Big Cat experts" (coppers out "for a jolly" it seems).

I have no problem with lynx as they have been here a very long time. We have the greyer coloured foxes now but there are other medium/small sized New cats that could be called "huge" by a member of the public.

I once stated "People report armadilloes and you find a woodlouse!". People do not know their supposedly "normal" wildlife let alone New wildlife. "It was like a wolf just staring back at me!" The animal was measured by the height of a bush -just over 12" (30cms) tall and...was a fox. "I think its an adder and I'm worried about the pets" so out I go with the extra thick gloves, covered bucket and tongs to be confronted by...a slow worm.

The problem is that this is all social clubbing -I bet those in this photo that can recite 'facts' recite the fake ones perpetuated by previous "Big Cat hunters" The fact that all (?) are police officers is is disturbing...but they get their faces in...the Star. Were they going to call in chopper back up if they saw anything or call in a fire arms unit -they seem to be fond of treating animals as "big game hunts" these days. The Star would love the headline "Brave Cops Gun Down Terror Beast Cat From Hell!"

"We want to warn and protect the public from the dangers" is the usual "local hero" bull. We have had panthers, leopards, puma and other cats in the UK for a "few centuries" now and how many attacks or deaths of people?



One woman received a scratch on her hand as she tried to take a dead rabbit (!!) from a lynx in her back garden. That is it.

Every "Big Cat Attack" story since the 1970s has been proven a hoax and worst of all the two best known involved self inflicted wounds.

WHY should I, as the UKs original (how I groaned) "Big Cat Detective" accept this as a "non native cat" sighting?

An "African lynx" -but show a photo of a caracal -which they then call a "big cat" and it is NOT.

Since the Exotic Animals Register (EAR) stopped acting as a UK Police Forces advice service it seems any silly claims are accepted and jumped on.

Rant over.

Huge 'beast' with pointed ears spotted prowling in UK village sparking police search

Derbyshire Police received a report of a dark grey beast with a giant body and pointed ears prowling near the woods in Ticknall, with witnesses claiming it resembled an African Lynx

big cat, said to look like an African Lynx, has reportedly been spotted prowling near woods in a South Derbyshire village.

Derbyshire Police received a report of the sighting in Ticknall and sent out officers in search of the creature, Staffordshire Live reports.

The caller reported seeing a beast that had a giant body, pointed ears and was dark grey in colour in the centre of the village

The officers, who were less than convinced that the sighting was real, did send out several officers who took part in a 12-hour search for the wild animal but could not find it on Friday, October 29.

A spokesman for the Merica Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, which is an arm of Derbyshire Police, said: "The slinky feline, which was described by the informant as resembling an African lynx was seen near the showground in the heart of the village.

"The cat-like, cunning beast was said to have a giant body, pointed ears and was of a dark grey appearance.

Lynx of the desert in savannah
A beast believed to be a big cat was spotted in Staffordshire 

Friday, 1 October 2021

EAR -Exotic Animals Register on Face Book

"You need to skin an animal to find the Big Cat evidence"

 Time to deal with some more utter rubbish spouted continually by British 'big cat investigators'.

One statement originated in the book by Colin and Janet Bord, Alien Animals published in 1984. In the book the authors state that a full grown puma requires 60 lbs of meat each day to survive. Today, 'big cat investigators' continue to use this 'fact' and shows no real knowledge of the animal. In the UK I have been lucky enough to study three specific territories.

We know that a male cougar may dominate a home range of some 50 to 150 square miles. We know that a male puma living in the Cascade Mountains kills a deer or elk every 9 to 12 days and will eat up to 20 pounds of meat at a time then bury the rest for later. We saw this in Wales and elswehere but there were often longer spaces between killing large mammals as rabbits were plentiful and they provided the puma with its chase and food. A wild (adult) rabbit can weigh 2lbs + so a couple or even three killed a day cuts down the need to "eat big" -andwe can add ducks, geese and other animals to the food base.

Similarly leopards (black panthers) will eat on average about a third of the carcass of the animal they kill which works out at roughly 400kg of meat per leopard each year. Now that means it is very likely that leopards probably need just over a kilogram of meat a day -2lbs. 

F99, an orphaned cougar kitten, caching an elk carcass she discovered. Photograph by Mark Elbroch 

Whereas puma tend to bury or push their food cache into hedges etc., the leopard will place its cache in tree branches and this has also been noted in the UK.

An adult male leopard hoists a juvenile impala kill in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa (photo credit: Villiers Steyn).

60 lbs of meat is 27.2155 kgs per day. So 26 times more than either cat requires and so far no reports of obesity in large UK cats has been reported.

We then have thefavourite piece of tripe spouted to reporters -I assume that this is because it makes the 'big cat hunter'  look macho. "You have the skin the neck of the animal killed to find the claw and teeth marks of the big cat that killed it" and I rest my case re. idiocy. Look at how the animal that has been killed has been fed on, the position of the body and you can tell whether a deer or other animal has had its neck snapped or been throat choked. In Wales the small sheep were in some cases decapitated by a powerful jaw. Despite what you might hear badgers and foxes do not take down fully grown sheep...ponies, horse foals or deer. They may well feast on the carcasses and this has been observed, photographed and even filmed -it is a free meal.

An adult leopard can snap a small animals neck and you also often see them suffocate (preferred method it seems) deer and larger prey by biting down on the windpipe/throat or mouth area. So, if you find an animal and suspect a big cat kill you ALWAYS photograph around the kill in situ as that can give a lot of information.  you can then check the shoulder, throat and neck area for claw marks where a large cat may have gotten hold of the prey.

But you do not have to skin to look for these marks. If a puma or leopard has bitten an animal the signs are obvious if you know what you are doing. "B" was an Argentinian polo pony and it is possible that she survived simply from inherited instincts when a puma attacked her. It did not manage to get a secure grip so was probably bucked off. However, it did sink its teetch in.

This was so clear and obvious that any doubt puma were involved in foals having gone missing that the evidence had to be accepted.  Foal remains were later found and studied and revealed the tell-tale signs of puma dentition. The bite marks on "B" were measured and were puma. One British biologist who I would love to name (a DEFRA "expert") stated that the bite marks were those of a badger. In the valley in question there were no badgers and even foxes were scare due to hunts. Several zoologists said they were brought to "tears of hysterical laughter" after reading the "badger attack" statement.

To the sides you can see areas where the cat tried to dig its claws in for a better grip and it is suspected that this may have been the female puma as the larger male would have had far more weight to bring to the attack.

My files have a lot of images of cat kills as well as scat and so on. Everything that I have was forwarded to DEFRA and this is why their 'expert' claimed a badger was involved.

Never once has skinning an animal been necessary.

The other false statement is that it is difficult to tell whether UK reports involve a jaguar or leopard. There is a difference. I can trace reports of black leopards living wild in the UK back to the 1840s (Somerset) though the legend of "Black Annis" is much older and the black cat hanging its victims in tree branches is something even then naturalists were not aware of so "some villagers" adding that to "spice things up" is hugely unlikely. 

There are black puma and we know where the originakl stock was transported from and that they were on show in menageries -there is also a wealth of other material on the matter. However, a puma cannot be mistaken for a leopard or vice versa except by people who have no idea. In 40+ years I have spoken to people who wanted to report their puma sighting and theyu give accurate descriptions of the cats they were within 10-20 feet (3-6m) of and are describing black leopards. I have had others who wanted to report sighting ablack leopard and then give perfect diagnostic descriptions of...a puma. When an internationally known and highly credited senior zoologist reported his black puma sighting I had one biologist tell me "No. It was a black leopard" -self same biologist would not  directly speak to or contact the zoologist to state this (apparently, it later transpired, this biologist was another DEFRA "expert witness").

The so called "Hooper Cat" (named by various police forces wildlife crimes officers) is never going to be mistaken for a leopard or puma. In fact, witnesses made the size of this cat very clear and that it was not the size or near the size of a puma or leopard (they had mostly all tried to identify the cats online).

But not once have I ever been told of a cat thayt might be a jaguar and Jaguars are bigger and bulkier than leopards with some weighing up to 250 lbs (over 113 kg) compared with the 175 lbs (just over 79 kgs) leopard. Average weights:

  • Male Jaguar: 110 -120 kg
  • Male Leopard: 40 - 80kg
  • Female Jaguar: 85 - 90 kg
  • Female Leopard: 20 - 60 kg

You will also notice the difference between jaguar and leopards heads -

As well as difference in body types -

Check out this site for more information:

To reiterate: there has never been a reported sighting of or known jaguar living wild in the UK.  Those reporting such and claiming to be "big cat investigators" are tall tale spinners at best. "Twice the size/height of a German Shepherd" is natural exaggeration from a witness. If something is big and black and can be seen as a big black blob on a photo taken half a mile is probably a horse or cow.

There are Face Book groups and blogs out there who will combine the nonsense of cryptozoological claims and intermix them with the paranormal or UFOs. Forteans for the most part and people who have no grasp on reality.

Others profess to have been "researching British Big Cats" for years and 99% of those are people who started in the late 1990s or 2000s and were in contact with myself and much of the misquoted material they use comes from my old EAR Bulletins.  The genuine naturalists who started out looking at these reports in the mid 1970s such as Arthur Cadman, John Green et al are now gone. From all of the old crew I am sorry to reportthat I am the last remnant. 

From absolutely no interest in exotics from the 1970s to 1990s now everyone wants to jump on board especia;lly if they can milk the subject for their own ends. The point should be to educate the public and not try to scare or misinform it.

Read more:

The 2002 EAR Press Notes

  Just a note to make sure that everyone understands that if you are going to use ANY of my material then do so giving full credit to the Ex...