Report from Chris Smith
WHAT appears to have been a big cat was spotted on the outskirts of St
In what is believed to be the latest sighting of the Beast of Buchan, the creature was spied prowling in a garden in Kirton in late December. A local resident cooking supper in her kitchen heard a noise in her back garden and went to investigate.
The woman, who preferred not to be named, told the Buchanie: "We have a dog and initially I thought maybe it was outside, only to find it was inside with us.
"As I looked out over our garden, all I could see were a pair of eyes that were like saucers. It was too big to be a dog or a domestic cat, and there were no cattle or sheep in the field bordering our garden. "When it spotted me looking out it turned and with just a couple of massive leaps bounded right out of the garden and away into the fields beyond."
The woman, who firmly believes it was a big cat, reckons it may have been attracted by the rustlings of a pet rabbit which lives in a hutch at the rear of the house.
She added: "Everyone with the exception of my mum doesn't believe me, but I am convinced it was a big cat."
There have been many sightings of this puma-like creature across Buchan in recent years.
People have claimed to have seen the beast from as far afield as forestry near New Deer to the foreshore at Boddam.
Francis Yule was out walking her four-year-old Springer Spaniel Lucy behind Peterhead Power Station in 2001 when the cat-like creature suddenly appeared from behind a rock.
Widlife experts believe such large cats could well exist in Buchan given the wealth of tree cover and ample food supply.
Private collections of exotic creatures were common enough in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It has been suggested that big cats could have their origins in animals released from captivity into the wild.
Could it have been a panther the St Fergus woman spotted in December?
© Buchan Observer, January 2004
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