Report from Nick Wirsten
I was bemused by the article in the Daily Mail about the big cat hunt
I am senior keeper of carnivores at Glasgow Zoo and we have been actively researching this subject for 27 years.
We have found that within the UK there are more than 20 exotic cats running about.
However mark Fraser of the 'Scottish Big Cat Society' and Danny Bamping of the British Big Cat Society have said there are 2,023 sightings in the UK.
Mark Fraser has made some highly fanciful claims about these cats and, while we do believe there are some cats out there, we have yet to see the proof.
According to these groups, the UK is plagued by big cats, yet not one shred of evidence has been produced to prove their existence.
Every year we see these groups making statements that are pure fantasy. People see what they want to see and will believe anything that the so called "experts" tell them.
Why people are so easily gulled by the egotistical and self-proclaiming I do not know. But what I can tell you is this: If you go on safari in Africa or on holiday in India or parts of America, you will see big cats and you can take many pictures, by day and night.
Yet in the UK, all we get as proof is an out-of-focus picture- and little else in the way of hard evidence.
Not one picture or paw print has ever been proven.
Why is the evidence so thin on the ground?
Please stay away from these self-appointed groups and individuals who claim they "know" this and that.
Mark Fraser has said that he will be using five big cat experts to hunt for these animals, but ask yourself this: Why has he not named them and why does he not state their expertise?
Do not beguiled into world of the fantasy players whose sole aim is to deceive you. Use your eyes and ears.
Better still, use your head and think for yourself. If you believe you have seen something, then please call the real experts like me and other zoos- as well as the Scottish Big Cat Trust, which is the only registered charity here properly researching exotic cats.
Big Cat Keeper Glasgow Zoo.
© The Daily Mail, 1 st July 2004
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