Tuesday 26 April 2011

BIg Cat Attack?

Fears for children from ‘big cat’
Mum frightened to leave her baby in garden after dog was attacked
By Mel Fairhurst Published: 16/04/2011
A mother living near the home of the mythical Loch Ness Monster claims a real-life killing beast is on the rampage in the area – and warned it could be a threat to children.Terrified Katrina Wallace says she is too frightened to leave her 12-week-old baby unattended in the garden after her dog was attacked and a lamb was killed by a big cat-like creature which is thought to be prowling woods near her Drumnadrochit home.Mrs Wallace’s husband, James, 38, first spotted the animal in the family garden at Ancarraig House, Bunloit, and thought it was one of the couple’s two black labradors.He said it was black with a long, cat-like tail similar to that of a puma or cougar.Weeks later one of the family dogs, Breargh, was attacked in the garden.Mrs Wallace said: “There was blood all around her eye and her hind leg was ripped to shreds. The vet said she had been dragged by an animal bigger than a dog.”Following snow showers in March, large paw prints which measured 4.5in by 3in were photographed by the couple, and a couple of weeks ago, they were horrified to find a lamb from a neighbouring farm had been killed. It had a puncture wound in the back of its neck.Mrs Wallace said: “The paw prints came from the woods towards the house. A friend of ours who does a lot of shooting and has tracked animals confirmed they were cat prints and a big one at that.


Anonymous said...

We have had a big cat living in the East Sussex area; where I live for over 12 years now. I personally have sighted the animal on three separate occasions. Local farmers know it's around, but rarely discuss it publicly for fear of ridicule, however, in our case I don't feel at all threatened, despite having young children and living in a rural area.

Like the family in the featured story, I too was alarmed to find I was sharing my rural community with a wild Black Puma, but I was told by the wild cat tracker Quentin Rose who investigated my report, that the Black Puma has an approx radius of 200 miles that it circles, revisiting areas at certain times of the year on it's journey. This has certainly turned out to be the case, which may account for the number of times our family have witnessed it on separate occasions and at set times of the year here.

Sadly, Quentin; a relatively young man, and the only trapper licensed in Europe at the time, died suddenly before he was able to trap it, but unlike foxes or dogs who will maim a whole herd indiscriminately, the Puma tends to kill what it needs to eat and will often bury it, only to return to its feast a day or so later.
These creatures do kill animals and granted some will be domestic, but they have lived in our countryside’s for a lot longer than we realise. The best advice we were given by Quentin, was to stay calm, never to run from it, as cats instinctively chase things that run and also to make a lot of noise if we were to see it close by, as they tend to shy away from noise. Sound advice, which has kept us both safe and at ease with it’s presence over the years.

It's a sad fact that irresponsible owners of wild cats created this situation by releasing these animals into our countryside when stricter regulations and licensing came into play. Fear is innate. The knee-jerk reaction is to fear the animal and employ hunters to shoot or trap it.
As the years have passed, I’ve come to accept and respect this magnificent beast and I’ve also come to realise that trapping it and condemning it to a life of captivity after so long in the wild would surely condemn it to death anyway.
Unlike Canada, we live in a climate which is mild and where small game and stock is plentiful because of it. I credit this for the rarity of any human attacks in Britain, I understand most attacks in Canada are mainly due to starvation, (In winter months), threat to their young or cornering the Cat where it cannot escape.
Although farmers in Britain are fiercely protective of their stock, I also believe that most rural farmers accept small losses as part of the way of things and in the scheme of it, loose dog attacks are much more devastating to farm herds.

Pumas are solitary animals and don’t roam in large menacing packs. There is little conclusive evidence to suggest large scale breading is taking place in the wild and never have I read of a sighting in Britain that reported a female and her Cubs wondering across the countryside. In my opinion the increase in sightings is more to do with mans encroachment on the countryside, than a dramatic increase in wildcat numbers.

My advice if you live in an area that a wild cat sighting has been reported, would be that you should take practical measures to ensure your family’s, stock, and pets safety, follow Quentin’s advice above, stay calm and go about life as normal.
M Sullivan, East Sussex. 23.5.2011.

Tabitca said...

Thank you for sharing that with us all.