The video is available in two formats.
Below are some stills from the video.
October 3 rd, 1997
Mrs.W while occupied in household chores noticed an animal that she said, somehow seemed out of the ordinary, it in fact reminded her of a puma. After observing and glancing at the animal several times she decided to take video footage of the animal which was sat at rest. After a minute of filming she continued with the house work, when she returned the animal had gone. She never saw it arrive or leave. The animal moved only once during filming and that was to look directly at Mrs. Ws bungalow. She describes it as being black with a large head and a kind of square maybe snub kind of face.
The animal was sat against wire fencing, it is not known if it was behind or in front of it. The height of the fencing from the round is:
Ground to top fence post = 41inches.
Ground to top wire = 37inches.
The ground behind the fence is consistent with the above measurements. The ground in front of the fencing is not level and in some places is 49 inches to the top fence post and 37 inches to the top wire. Depending on wether we can find out if the animal was behind or in front of the fence we may be able to estimate its height and size.
The photo above is the cottage from where the footage was filmed from the spot where the creature was seen.
Mrs. W has never come across the reports of large cat-like animals in the UK, and has no interest what so ever in the sightings, she wishes to remain anonymous and does not want any media involvement what so ever. Mrs. W and her husband will monitor the site and keep an eye out should the animal return.
I have visited the site on several occasions, by myself and with Edinburgh colleague Ronnie Patterson. The cat as far as I am aware has not been back. Locals I have talked to have a mixed reaction saying that the sighting was nothing more than that of a large black dog, others believe the existence of these animals. A local farmer has complained of two unexplained sheep attacks, which he does not attribute to dogs. These attacks occurred two weeks apprx. prior to the video footage being taken.
Mark Fraser, Ayrshire Big Cats
Dear Mark Fraser,
Re the Ayrshire photos: they are not clear enough to offer hope of a conclusive identification. They could possibly depict a very burly felid, but I personally favour a large canid identity. I repeat, however, that this is in no way a certain identification on my part - the pictures do not permit this. I tend not to take too much notice any more of mystery cat reports in Britain, for the simple reason that in my view there is no mystery. I have no doubt that the creatures concerned are nothing more than escapee/deliberately released specimens of puma, black panther, and one or two smaller non-native species such as leopard cats and jungle cats, from private collections or even comprising exotic but now-unwanted pets, which are surviving in the British countryside. There is no reason why they could not do so, and it is in my view merely the media hyping up the subject to make it into a mystery/silly season story and hence newsworthy that keeps people at large from accepting this. Plenty of other, sometimes less adaptable non-native animals than big cats have survived and even established populations in Britain; it is only the natural, inherent elusiveness of these cats that prevent us from seeing them more often and in better observation conditions. Hopefully, the valuable researches by investigators such as yourself will help to confirm this so that the media will stop trying to make a mystery out of something that clearly is in no way mysterious. Hoping that my comments and views are of interest, and wishing you every success with your continuing invesigations and with your excellent website.
Dr Karl P.N. Shuker
Excellent page on an interesting topic. I just wanted to add my opinion on the stills from the Patna video footage. Admittedly, having not seen the motion involved, and judging only from the blurry graphics, this may be way off-base; but to me the silhouette of the large dark animal seems decidedly bovine. The outline of the 'snout' seems too elongated to be feline, but it's rectangular quality is similar to a cow's, as is the description of the slow reclining movement which such animals adopt when sinking to the ground. The kneeling posture would also seem consistent with a cow or bull. The fact that the tail is not seen at any point confirms this theory, in my view. Thanks for such a great page!
The black animal on a ridge - which has 3 pics - well - if I was out in the country and I saw that - I should look at it very carefully as a possible big cat. Right size - and black...
But - when you see a big cat "sitting" in that position, you would see its really big "withers" or shoulder blades sticking out from the back... You would be looking for a smaller, neater head, with more downface and less muzzle - and what about this little pricky ears.
In the pics you show - no prominent shoulder blades, a deep muzzle, no pricky ears ..... could it be the local black Labrador ?
To be fair the pics you mention come from video footage from the witness here near Patna, she saw the animal, noticed it was not a dog and therefore took the footage which I have.
I have been to the site several times, measured the area and distances etc. But I am still not fully convinced as to what that animal is.
The nearest neighbours to that cottage is the village five miles away, the family who took the footage do not have a dog, that's not to say it wasn't a dog.
Di Francis who I sent the footage to is convinced it is a male big cat, the unknown type indigenous to the UK, and says it fits the description and other evidence found.
Many thanks for your comments, as I say I'm not convinced yet, some one else thought it may be a cow.
Best wishes, Mark Fraser (Ayrshire Big Cats)
Circumstances: The photographer has recently moved to the location. The house is fairly, isolated surrounded by fields and forestry planting. On the morning the footage was recorded, the owner was working on renovating the house when she glanced out of the window to see a large black\dark animal seated on the hillside, beyond the garden. Having no knowledge or interest about the mystery cat sightings throughout Britain, she at first thought she was looking at a very large powerful dog, but then decided the animal was not a dog. Puzzled, she used her camcorder to take the footage obtained then went to get her husband. However when she looked next, the animal had gone.
The photographer had no interest or background information about the cat sightings but is certain the animal was very large, very powerful, more like a big cat then a dog. She was too far away to see any detail, only the size and muscular build of the creature. She was unable to note the tail as the animal was crouched and she did not witness it moving away.
History of area of site: Sheep are kept on the surrounding farmland and the local farmer has frequently lost sheep to predators that he believed to be rogue dogs. Big cat sightings have been reported in the surrounding area over the years.
Examination of Footage: The frames show a crouched heavily built animal silhouetted against the skyline and apparently filmed from a lower level and on maximum zoom. Definition is poor, the image is blurred, but the position against the light of the sky does reveal the outline of a massive lion-like animal with broad shoulders, unlike the lean shape of a domestic cat. Size scale is suggested by the posts of stock fencing in the background but an examination of the site is necessary to rule out any possibility of a hidden dip in the ground providing a false view of the distance involved between the animal and the fence.
If the site examination confirms the scale, then the animal would appear very large.
Although the animal does not stand and move away in the footage, it moves its head towards the camera, confirming it is a living animal and not a fixed hoax, shadow, plant or rock. The movement has the slow ponderous movement of a feline relaxing, rather then the more abrupt and jerky movement normally associated with canine behaviour.
Because of the position of the animal and the poor quality of the film, important details like the ears and the length of the tail are lost, but the impression given is very lion-like in posture and build. However, the animal was dark in colour, appearing black to the witness which would rule out a lion as the species.
Further research to be attempted: Computer enhancement involving repeated overlay may provide a better definition of the position of the ears. If the animal is a dog breed and the size scale suggested is correct, the dogs are limited to Mastiff, Great Dane type breeds, all of which have flopped ears. American Great Danes have erect ears, but these are produced by cropping and splinting the pups ears, a practice illegal in Britain. If an overlay defines upright ears as the footage suggests, then the animal is more likely to be feline than canine.
If examination of the background and site area confirms a size scale of the suggested height of 2ft, then the heavy build of the animal and height would appear to eliminate most dogs other then the flop eared breeds. It would also eliminate all but the largest cat species.
It would also be interesting to compare the film with other footage claiming to be film of Big Cats in Britain. The head shape in profile would appear to match the profile of the black cat photograph taken by myself in Wales in 1982. It would also appear similar to the Shropshire photograph taken by Andy Compton at Llandrinio in 1994. Also with the Worcestershire 1994 footage, etc. Any suitable footage of claimed big cat material should be overlaid over the Ayr profile compared with similar results from overlays of exotic big cat profiles. Dog profiles could be used in a similar way.
Conclusion: Unfortunately because of the quality of the film and camera shake, no details are revealed to identify the animal. My personal belief is that the footage is genuine and shows a large powerfully built feline, though without further work, a large mastiff type dog is a possibility. If the ears can be defined as being erect, then I believe the footage is likely to be that of a large dark cat.
Personal Comments: The description provided to me by the witness gave me the impression that the animal sighted was most probably a male, in which case the animal was unlikely to be sighted again within the immediate area as the males tend to be nomadic, only remaining in the area for mating. However having examined the film, I tend to believe that the animal could be female and its relaxed attitude in the open would suggest a confidence born of familiarity with its surroundings. The fact that the witness has only just moved to the site and the history of sheep killing within the area would put the location in the cat.1. group.
Follow Through: immediate cat.1. The witness has agreed to cooperate but is reluctant to involve the media. Depending on finance and the result of the on-going monitoring of the site, the Patna site should take priority over all sites during Autumn 1997.
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