Police Scotland urged the public to be vigilant after a reputed sighting of the animal in fields near the B730 at 8.45 this morning.Yeah, yeah. We've been here before.
Detectives were working with the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) to locate the animal, which may be injured.But it seems that the SSPCA found a quick way out:
The SSPCA said it had liaised with the police but had since stood down since it was unable to deal with big cats.Or vampires, werewolves, banshees....
A police spokeswoman said: "Officers who have been investigating a number of reports of a large black cat in fields near to the B730 have been liaising with a big cat expert who does not believe that it is a black panther, however cannot yet confirm what type of animal it is."I'll help him out here. It's a cat. And those two things in the foreground aren't pterodactyls, they're magpies.
Oh. And you're a laughing stock. But then, you're used to that...
Thank God for Police Scotland, we are decidedly short of good comedians and a good laugh up here. Well done PS, much appreciated.
I grew up and lived in what is now Zambia. I have visited the Kafue, Luangwa and Lower Zambezi Game Reserves. I have seen many lion, leopard, civet and serval cats. Not one of the photos I have seen in the press looks like any one of them; they all look like domesticated cats. The body shape and posture of each pictured beast is not how a big or even biggish cat appears.
Christ, there's two here in my loungeroom now. I'm going to end my days as panther droppings.
A chap I know was investigating local claims that a leopard was in the area (this being rural Devon). So, he stuck up some camera traps.
This is a favoured tactic of wildlife film makers the world over; bung up camera traps and even if the wildlife trashes the camera, you can normally still retrieve something from the media card. More normally, you either get nothing much or you get a tiger calmly strolling past the camera paying not the slightest heed of it at all.
My friend was expecting something like this in this Devon location. He got film of badgers, foxes, deer, lots of birds and even a lady desperate to go to the loo who didn't spot the camera. However, no leopards were seen at all.
What a lot of people (myself included up to a while ago) fail to appreciate is how many deer live in the British countryside, and how prevalent deep poachers are. Deer poachers are people who are out to kill a deer for the meat that this deer has, and quite a few of them are only out for the better cuts.
This gives rise to a number of characteristics. Firstly, the animal will have been butchered somewhere secluded, because the last thing you as a poacher want to discover standing behind you after gutting a deer is the local gamekeeper and several of his very large friends.
Secondly, many poachers only want the good bits. That means that the back end is always taken, and sometimes the front legs but all the rest is surplus to requirements. If the deer is a ways in-country from the transport, then the poacher only takes the hindquarters. After the local badger and fox population have had a good nosh on what's left, you have what looks rather like a big cat kill with only the forequarters left.
Thirdly, poachers are rational criminals, and know that getting caught is inevitable and an occupational hazard. Getting caught trespassing is a civil offence, getting caught with a crossbow or longbow is mildly criminal offensive weapons, but getting nobbled with even a shotgun is armed trespass with all the firearms law being involved. Poachers thus tend to avoid actual firearms because they are a liability if you're caught with one, and because obtaining a good deer rifle and good, fresh ammo is really quite difficult.
So, if poachers are operating in an area, you don't hear anything. Deer mysteriously die, bits of deer turn up in odd corners but no gunshots are heard and nobody ever sees things like lights at night or stuff like that (a light where one shouldn't be at night is a dead giveaway).
"Thank God for Police Scotland, we are decidedly short of good comedians and a good laugh up here."
This is only going to encourage Devon & Cornwall Farce to up their game!
"Not one of the photos I have seen in the press looks like any one of them; they all look like domesticated cats. "
I've only ever seen one video clip that did look genuine to me. And there was no guarantee it wasn't a trained animal hired from a specialist TV company just for fun.
"Christ, there's two here in my loungeroom now."
"He got film of badgers, foxes, deer, lots of birds and even a lady desperate to go to the loo who didn't spot the camera."
There's a specialist market for that sort of footage! ;)
"After the local badger and fox population have had a good nosh on what's left, you have what looks rather like a big cat kill with only the forequarters left."
Not to mention that leopards stash their kills in trees. Has anyone ever found one of those?
It is one of those black metal cat silhouettes that you can buy to stop real cats messing in your garden.
Note it is not interested in the birds, and the birds are not bothered by a bit of black tin plate.
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