Report from Chris Smith
A woman spotted what is thought to have been a puma in the wooded area behind an Aberdeen street yesterday.
The woman contacted police at 2.15 pm to report the animal, apparently soaking up the sun at the rear of Lochnagar Crescent in the suburb of Culter.
The creature, which she described as huge and black, had disappeared from the area before the police arrived. The matter has been reported to the wildlife liaison department.
The sighting is not a first for the North-east. Only last month, Scotland was declared "alien big cat" capital of Britain by the monthly magazine on strange phenomena and experiences, Fortean Times.
According to their research, nearly one in six reports of strange felines were made north of the border. Of the 487 last sightings over the past three years, 78 were in Scotland.
An encounter with one of the creatures Ð which are typically leopard-sized but black or brown with a long tail Ð has become the commonest type of encounter with the unknown.
In January, a giant black cat was blamed for the mutilation of a swan torn apart in an attack near a house in Angus. Earlier in the month, a pensioner near Montrose claimed a "giant cat" was responsible for killing five of his seven pet rabbits.
There have been a string of sightings of the "Black Cat of Angus" by residents of Brechin, Letham and Carnoustie going back several years, as well as persistent reports of a mystery cat in Fife.
In November last year, the "Beast of Buchan" was thought to have savagely killed a sheep on a farm near Peterhead.
Farmer James Fletcher found one of his sheep had been torn apart and its innards strewn across the field.
The Beast of Buchan has been sighted in the area on a number of occasions over the years.
One of the most famous of the beasts seen roaming the North and North-east in recent years was Felicity the puma.
She sprang to fame when she was caught in a baited trap on a farm near Inverness in 1980.
The tame animal lived at the Highland Wildlife Park, King-ussie, after being caught by Cannich farmer Ted Noble. Her body was stuffed and displayed at Inverness Museum.
It is estimated there may be over 100 leopards and pumas roaming the British countryside. Big cat experts believe they are the offspring of beasts released by owners in the 1970s after the introduction of stringent laws governing ownership of wild and dangerous animals.
The Press & Journal: May 7 th 2001
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