been big cat sightings reported since
1950s in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland. The cat was dubbed the Galloway
Puma by the press after Canadian tourists claimed to have seen an animal which
resembled a cougar near Kirroughtree, south-east of Newton Stewart in the late
1990s. They saw the animal whilst
returning from a walk in the Galloway
Forest. It was also seen by locals in Newton Stewart .It was described by most as black, about the size of a Labrador dog, with a long tail and
yellow eyes. Some have described it as sandy coloured, so is there more than
one big cat roaming the countryside in this area?
Many people, such as local farmers and Forestry workers,
reported seeing a big black cat
throughout the region. In June 2001, a young woman who was walking her dog near
Newton Stewart golf course, was shaken by what she described as a "large
black cat, bigger than an Alsatian", springing out at her on the path .The animal ran away
after her dog began barking and growling at it.
There were reports of attacks on livestock:
one of the 21 attacks in Dumfries and Galloway, a report of injured livestock
read: “One sheep was examined by an inspector from the SSPCA who found the
injuries to be unusual and not consistent with an attack from a dog. An attack
from wild boar or a large cat could be possibilities.”
Warnings were issued:
BEWARE BIG CATS SAY SCOTS POLICE
By Frank Ryan
POLICE have issued a "steer clear" warning after a series of big cat
sightings in south Scotland. There have been four recent reports of an animal
described as a lynx, puma or panther in Dumfriesshire. It was seen by two women
in Auldgirth, golfers at nearby Thornhill, a man walking his dogs beside the River
Nith in the village, and by another man in Sanquhar.
Bob McGoran, deputy head at St Joseph's College, Dumfries, earlier reported
seeing an animal like a North
American lynx at John-stonebridge, near the M74.
The police took the threat seriously.
More recently in 2013:
big cat sighting Published on the 14
Les Gill and his partner Linda were
looking out of their bedroom window when they both clearly saw the animal in
the hotel grounds. Les said: ”We were standing at the window looking out when
we saw it. I lived in Africa so I know what a big cat looks like. It was about
four foot long from nose to tail and the tail was long and curled upwards. It
was about three foot high and was sandy coloured. It was 60 yards away from us
and it was visible for about 25 to 30 seconds.“This was about eight o’ clock in
the morning as we were both stunned. My i-phone was in the car or a could have
taken a photograph. I just felt I should contact the paper to tell you what we
saw as there could be children playing nearby.”In the past four years 20 big
cat sightings have been reported to The Galloway Gazette.
Holidaymakers staying at Kirroughtee Hotel outside Newton
Stewart had a close encounter with one of Galloway’s best kept secrets last
Saturday morning - an elusive big cat.
In November 2013:
A couple walking in woods near
Carronbridge say they came face to face with a mysterious big cat.Craig
Johnstone, 27, and his girlfriend Gillian Kennedy, 26, were staying at Trigony
House Hotel near Thornhill last weekend.They took their dog for a walk on
Sunday morning when they came across a “large, black cat” lying down staring at
them.Stunned Craig said: “It was around 50 metres away from us and its head
measured approximately one and a half feet from the ground.“It just stared at
us for 30 seconds.“Gillian panicked and moved away. I went with her but went
back after a few seconds to see if I could get a better picture but it was
away.”Craig described the strange creature as being “very stalky, jet black
with small rounded ears”.
It continues :Craig and Gillian aren’t
the only people to have spotted big cats in the region.Last July, 22-year-old
Samantha Garden was on her way to work in Lockerbie when she noticed a strange
looking creature standing in the middle of the road near Hoddom Bridge.In
January, 2012 Aaron Halliday and Nathan Crosbie spotted a big cat similar to a
panther in a field near Dalbeattie.
And in 2011, three mysterious cat
sightings were reported in the space of a month. Dan Alexander, of Dumfries,
claimed to have seen a creature on the A75 near Newton Stewart.Before that,
Dumbarton lorry driver John Spence said he saw two big cats dart in front of
his vehicle on the same road near Creetown.And on the same day, Janet Davies
spotted an animal near the quarry at Tynron which she called a panther.
According to police, big cat sightings
are not uncommon in the area but no creature has ever been traced to verify the
A couple of weeks ago, a person known to me who
wishes to remain anonymous, sent me this photo of a large paw print .The person
was walking a dog on the Lochinch area when he came across some footprints and took a
snap with a phone. It could be a badger or could it be the Galloway puma? What
do you think?
NB. Lochinch is a private estate owned by the Earl
of Stairs. At present there are shooting parties on the estate so if anyone
wishes to investigate please contact the estate office so you don’t risk getting
shot in mistake for game,