Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Another Perthshire big cat sight

Following on from my last post, this sighting from the Big Cats In Britain blog caught my eye:

"On Monday 6th September I was having my usual coffee while standing admiring the view out my back door in Strathearn when I noticed Roe deer running, then what I thought looked like a jet back bear/cat, it was chasing the roe deer into the woods. I nearly choked on my coffee.
I told my husband and some colleagues. I didn't think they believed me until my husband came home on Thursday with an article that was in the Sun newspaper about Ray Mears saying he had saw 3 cats in Scotland. The article had two pictures and the cat/bear I saw was like the second picture.
I have since spoken to the Strathearn Herald (local newspaper) and they are going to do an article this week about my sighting, they also told me to get in touch with you guys, well I think it was you! So I just thought I'd let you know about my sighting."

The Sun article referenced is here. The second picture that the witness compared her sighting to looks a still taken from this video, filmed in Helensburgh last year. I find her description of the animal as a bear cat interesting as the squat, muscular build combined wth the short face is something that crops up in big cat sightings from time to time, and has lead researchers such as Di Francis to speculate that Britain may be home to an as yet unrecognised species of big cat, sometimes referred to as the mastiff cat hypothesis. The idea of a large predator surving unrecorded in the UK into the 21st century, is of course, unlikely. However, the occasional snippet of intriguing evidence does crop up, such as a photo taken by a camera trap in Argyle, which shows a squat, muscular black feline in quite clear detail. (This photograph has not appeared online, though it has been used by the Centre For Fortean Zoology on the cover of a previous issue of Animals & Men, though if my memory serves me correctly, it does appear in this video, which is  talk given by Shaun Stevens of Big Cats In Britain).

As a footnote, I went to the Strathearn Herald website, and found this article from last year which had a completely different interpretation to the above, suggesting that a binturong (also known as a bear cat) was loose in the area, so maybe this coloured the witnesses choice of words? Certainly seems to have been a fair few sightings in the area.
NB- Strathearn is an area of Perthshire, covering Comrie/Crieff/Auchterarder, plenty of country for a cat/bearcat/whatever it is.

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