Sunday, 12 February 2012

has the beast returned?

Has 'Skerray Beast' struck here again?
Older readers may recall that, way back in the halcyon days between 1976 and 1981, the area round Bettyhill and Skerray was haunted by a cat-like animal with a taste for mutton.
The creature, which became known as “The Skerray Beast” was the subject of numerous sightings over several years, coincident with the discovery of the remains of a significant number of sheep, each of which had been disposed of in a similar manner. And now, the people of Farr are wondering if the large puma-like cat has returned. The beast’s modus operandi, marking it off from local scavengers or predators, was its ability to skin its prey every bit as neatly as any human being could. In the late seventies, there were armed hunts for the animal in the Borgie area, on Naver Rock and around Strathy but, though well-formed footprints were found both in sand and in snow, neither keepers, nor crofters nor police marksmen were ever able to get close enough to take a good shot at the creature or even to identify it positively. In the eighties the sightings, and the killings, stopped although big cat sightings thereafter became common as far afield as Surrey – probably as a consequence of troublesome pets being released in to the countryside following the Dangerous Wild Animals Act of 1976 which required owners of exotic pets to keep them securely and care for them properly.
Indeed, a half-tame puma was captured in Moray in October 1980 and ended its days as an exhibit in the Highland Wildlife Park!Back to today, and to Swordly on 19th December last year where former cattleman, Andy McLachlan was lamping for foxes.

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