Report from George Markie
A vet claims he has conclusive evidence big cats are on the prowl in Scotland.
Big cat enthusiast Aaron Bowers, from Elgin, reckons his ground-breaking discovery of three-inch long paw prints proves beyond doubt that a creature similar to a lynx is lurking in the Morayshire woodlands.
It was while out walking recently that he came across paw prints in a sand bank.
"The prints were too big to belong to a domestic cat or any woodland creature," he said.
Paw prints "I was really surprised when I found they were three inches in diameter and 3/4 of an inch deep."
According to Mr Bowers, the biggest wild cats tend to have paw prints two inches in diameter, although a cat like a lynx can measure up to three inches.
"I'm reasonably happy that what I've found are the prints of a lynx or a small puma," he said.
Because he had discovered similar prints in the past but had no means to record them, Mr Bowers now goes out fully prepared -I carry plaster of Paris around with me when I'm walking in case I stumble across any unusual prints."
He took two casts of the paw prints, and some photographs, and believes his discovery is significant in terms of proving the existence of big cats.
"My latest find has inspired me even more to carry on with my work to prove once and for all the existence of big cats in Moray."
There have been regular sightings of large cats across Morayshire over the years.
Kellas Cats, named after the village near Forres where they were discovered achieved notoriety in the mid-1980s when several separate sightings were recorded.
Despite regular sightings in recent years, there is no significant proof that they actually exist.
"Most people here accept there are big cats out there," added Mr Bowers. "I've had numerous people come forward to say they believe these cats exist."
The common belief of the origin of big cats is that they are the result of animals released at the time the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act came into force, but there are reported sightings dating back many years before that.
The lynx is a native Scottish cat which existed at least until the second or third century AD. Some believe the lynx never became extinct
Sunday Post, 13 th April 2003
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