An off-duty Ministry of Defence police dog handler has taken a photo of what he claims is a panther-sized big cat. Pc Chris Swallow was helping a friend with their garden in Helensburgh, Argyll, when he spotted the black creature on a nearby railway line. The officer, who is stationed at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde, said the cat was as big as a
After running to his car to grab his camera phone, Pc Swallow stood on the rail bridge at Winston Road and got a still photo and a couple of minutes of footage of the animal moving up the railway line. He added: "It was remarkable. I've heard stories about creatures like this moving about the countryside, but never really believed them before. Looking back at the video I don't think there's any doubt that it's a big cat." The Coulport Cougar was first reported in June 2004. The creature was described as being tan and prowling the woods and hills around Loch Long, Portincaple, Whistlefield and next to the Coulport access road. However, another creature, described as being black in colour, was also spotted at the nearby Garelochhead Training Camp, leading some people to believe that there may also have been a panther in the area.
John Belshaw, pest control officer at the Faslane naval base, said he had spoken to people in the past who had been "quite shaken" by seeing a big cat cross the road in front of them during the night. Mr Belshaw said: "I have had a look at Chris's footage and have to say that I do not believe it is a domestic cat or a dog. "At one point in the video it seems to walk on the railway line and a dog simply wouldn't have had the balance to do this. "Also, you can tell from the size of the track that it is much larger than a house cat." There have been regular reports of big cat sightings across the
Shaun Stevens, a researcher with the Big Cats in
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