Paws for thought after big cat seen

WITH a sighting of a big cat in Strathblane recently and recordings of them on the increase, a new survey aims to find the hard evidence that they are out there.

National Big Cat Watch Weekend runs from next Friday, August 24, until the Sunday and organisers are looking for volunteers to actively look for evidence of large felines in a particular area.

One such volunteer Emma McCreadie (27) has been in contact with a man in Strathblane who claims to have seen two large black cats.

Emma, who will be doing her big cat watch in Strathblane with a friend, said: “He was out walking his dog and saw two collie dog sized animals with the face of a cat, pointy ears and a long black tail.

“He said they were running across some fields near horse riding stables on July 27.”

The factory worker said there had been quite a lot of sightings around the Campsie area and reckons these large cats are the offspring of animals which have either been released deliberately or escaped from captivity after the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 was passed, making it illegal to keep such animals without special facilities.

Organiser of National Big Cat Watch Weekend, Mark Fraser said: “We just want some hard evidence to back up these sighting.

“More than 90 per cent of them turn out to be large black domestic cats. But we do know they exist.

“In 1980 a puma was caught outside Inverness and I have worked on a case in Lincolnshire were recovered hairs were found to be that of a black leopard.”

People can get involved by watching in their own chosen area, either for the full weekend, a day, a night or even just a few hours.

In January, 2010, a pensioner described how she found footprints which could have been made by a big cat in the snow in her garden in Dunglass Place, Milngavie.

The discovery followed a string of sightings in Milngavie that winter.

A woman told the M&B Herald: “I looked out the window and saw it walk down the street. It must have been about four feet tall and it had green eyes.”

For more information on how to take part go to bigcatsinglasgow@aol.co.uk

Have you seen big a cat? Have you taken photos or video? Call the Herald on 956 3533 or e-mail mbherald@jnscotland.co.uk