Report from Chris Smith
An expert is convinced big cats such as lynx or puma are roaming wild in Scotland. Research has revealed 50 official sightings and there have been so many reports of the mysterious animals in some area's that they are registered as big cat 'hot spots.' The new research is being carried out by Ranger Susan Craig at Palacerigg Country Park, Cumbernauld.
Susan, who looks after five lynx at the park says, "The number and detail of the sightings prove there is something definitely out there. The animals are either lynx or pumas. The sightings, some backed up with photographs and one with a video, are scattered around the country."
"There have been a number of isolated reports of big cats but there are now three hot spot areas in Scotland - Fife, the Highlands and the Borders. In Fife alone there have been 30 sightings from Anstruther to the Tay and as far South as Dunfermline. Most of the 12 Highland sightings have been North West of Aviemore and I have two reported sightings near Hawick."
In Fife I suspect lynx could now be breeding while the animals which have been seen in the Highlands could be pumas. Ten years ago anyone could keep a wild lynx or puma in their home, you could even order a puma cub by mail order. But after the introduction of The Dangerous Wild Animals Act, all big cats needed a local authority licence. I'm certain that some people released their lynx and puma into the wild then."
Sunday Post, October 10 th 1997
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