Report from Chris Smith
This is the amazing first video picture of the mystery cat-like creature dubbed 'The Beast of Fife.' The animal, which has roamed the area for two years, was caught on film by a women near Cupar. She handed the tape to police in a bid to prove the beast exists. The women, who has not been named, told them it was black and about 4 ft in length with a longtail.
Last night, locals were warned to steer clear of the creature. Since it was first spotted by a trucker in 1995, there have been up to 20 sightings by the workers out gritting the road, farmers and even police. Fife Police spokesman PC George Redpath said: "I am certain there is a puma living in this area. It is possibly the result of being abandoned following the introduction of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act some ten years ago."
"Before the act came into force, people could keep creatures like this as pets and I feel that it is more than likely that some were abandoned in remote areas such as the Highlands."
Glasgow Zoo boss Richard O' Grady studied a photo from the video and said: "It could be a puma. I've seen pictures of other 'big cats' which turned out to be foxes. But this one is very interesting."
He believes that a big cat could live in the countryside, feeding on field animals like rabbits and hares. Mr. O' Grady added: "The best way to prove its existence would be to get a paw print and compare it with any of our big cats."
Among those to have seen the beast are two cabbies who claim they spotted it in separate sightings near Inverkeithing. John McMenamin, 60, saw the animal as he drove home. He said: "It was coming away from a garden. It was about three to four feet long and had a two foot long tail. I thought it was black but in the early morning light it could have been dark brown."
John claimed he saw the animal a week later in the same area. He went on: "It crossed the road and I got a good look at it. It disappeared into undergrowth."
George Le Bond, 50, said he had kept quiet about he sighting because he thought his eyes were deceiving him. Last night he told the Scottish Sun: "It loped across the road in my headlights. I reckon it was on a hunt for food because it was coming from a farmyard."
In 1993, a puma was caught near Inverness and another was captured near Aviemore in 1980.
The Sun, November 17 th 1997
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