Report from Ralph Barnett
As a journalist I have covered several ABC sighting over the years - and even seen a couple of things myself - but have always been a sceptic. Not any more as the most recent sighting on 16/6/2001 (reported by my colleague Mike Alexander following a Fife Constabularly) was mine! I have more details if anyone's interested and hope to write a comprehensive article on the subject soon. I am also awaiting return of photos of the deer carcass taken with flash on the night and pug marks taken nearby the following day. Hope they come out. Fife police take this issue more seriously than I think they are prepared to admit publicly as the response to my call at 11.30pm was substantial, to say the least. On a personal note, despite the obvious size, power and appetite of the cat I saw, the last thing I would want is for it, and its like, to be hunted down and shot. They're living alongside us, probably scavenging roadkills more than hunting, and don't seem to pose any significant threat. Live and let live.
Ralph added: I'm a reporter with the Dundee-based Evening Telegraph and Courier newspapers and have had a long, albeit sceptical, interest in the "big cat" phenomena.
Since moving to Cupar, Fife 10 yrs ago I have had two puzzling but not entirely convincing sightings of "something" - and have also reported other people's accounts - but on the night of June 16 had an experience that blew me away and left me 100% certain.
Driving home at 11.30pm I crested a rise in the road and was confronted by a v.large dark cat eating a full-grown roe buck.
I only realised what it was when it raised its head from the carcass and its eyes were reflected in my headlights before it turned and disappeared into the night.
I got out and checked the deer carcass (pix being developed) and was staggered by the damage - slit from throat to groin, skin peeled back, both sides of ribcage stripped to white bone, body cavity completely empty (inc. heart, lungs...everything), plus one back leg eaten to the bone from hip to hoof.
Carcass was a "wee bit ripe" so could have been scavenged roadkill or earlier kill being moved (maybe to feed young?...now there's a thought). I called the police on my mobile and you can gauge how seriously they took it by the eventual presence of two PCs, a Sergeant, a retired PC (local big cat expert George Redpath) and more senior officers due after I had given my statement and gone on my way.
Went back following day and had a snoop about and, despite Fife police putting out a press release to the effect that no further evidence was visible, found some prints (pix of these too, hopefully) which confirmed my belief in what I saw.
Scottish Big Cats Guestbook, 21 st June 2001
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