Report from George Markie
POLICE and wildlife experts are hunting for a big cat amid fears the beast, which savaged four sheep, could strike again.
A large animal with cat-like claws struck at a farm in Keillour, Perthshire, last week.
It had eaten a substantial part of one sheep and returned later to feast on the remains of another.
The farmer and a forestry worker saw an animal emerging from woodlands nearby the following evening, but were unable to get a clear look.
Police are investigating the incident and officers think a large cat or dog was to blame.
Wildlife officer Allan Stewart said: "Four sheep were killed and they had big marks on their throats and scratches.
"Generally dogs' claws are pretty blunt and some of the marks look like they could only have been inflicted by a cat.
"There's no way it could have been a fox but I wouldn't like to say for sure that it was a big cat or dogs."
Wool was torn off the attacked sheep and the rest of the flock were spooked the following evening when the mystery animal was nearby.
Stewart said there had been no sightings of big cats in the area in recent times and the deaths were a mystery.
He said that if a big cat was living in the area he would have expected it to have struck on a more regular basis.
He said cats and dogs often returned to areas where they had carried out killings and the farmer was remaining vigilant.
Daily Record, 24 th January 2003
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