Report from Chris Smith
Small cats are very sensitive to disturbance and are often difficult to breed in captivity. In the early 1980s, the Leopard Cats at Edinburgh Zoo successfully reared a litter. One of these was sold to a private collection in Cumbria from which it escaped in the summer of 1987. It was loose for eight months before a gamekeeper killed it attacking pheasant in February 1988 on the Minto estate in the Border Country, near Jedburgh.
A second Leopard Cat was killed in neighbouring Berwickshire a year later.
The following is an extract from:
In Scotland, a puma was caught in the hills north of the Great Glen in 1980, a leopard cat was shot near Jedburgh in the borders in 1988 and another killed in Berwickshire a year later.
The Ross-shire puma was found in a trap by a Cannich farmer following an eight month hunt during which he had lost many sheep and foals. The beast - suffering from chronic arthritis - was taken to the Highland wildlife Park near Kingussie, where she lived out her last years, dying in 1985.
The origin of the Berrwickshire leopard cat remains unknown, but the Jedburgh cat originally came from Edinburgh Zoo and had escaped from a private collection in Cumbria.
Members of the Scottish Big Cats Team are indebted to Dr Andrew Kitchener of the Royal Scottish Museum for allowing them to examine the skeleton of one of these Leopard Cats.
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