Wanted: Big Cat Sighting – DNG Online Limited

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A BIG CAT enthusiast is collating and mapping sightings of non-native big cats across the UK – and wants contributions from Dumfriesshire.

Already, the Scottish Big Cat Mapping Project has recorded more than 1100 reports on the map dating from 1947 to the present day, many of them from this area.

The project is led by Paul Macdonald, a bespoke sword and knife maker at Macdonald Armouries.

Explaining his fascination with big cats, he said: “I first saw a cat around 1988.

“It was in the Highlands and it has sparked my interest in them ever since. I was on the train with a friend traveling through Glenfinnan on my way to school in Lochaber.

“The train stopped, and we saw that he had just disturbed this large cat, dark in color and close to the train. He was clearly used to the train coming and going several times a day as he never ran away no, he was just starting to slowly walk away.

“My friend and I both locked eyes on it and couldn’t speak the entire time it was in our line of sight. The train then entered the tunnels, I turned to him and said ‘you saw that’, he said ‘it was a big cat wasn’t it?’

“It was my first big cat sighting and I’m glad it came close as he was unmistakable as to what it was.”

PERFECT MAPPING. . . A collated map of big cat sightings across Scotland, by Paul Macdonald

Paul began researching, collating and mapping the locations of big cat sightings a few years ago after moving closer to Edinburgh.

He continued: “Big cats like lynxes, cougars, panthers and leopards can live in both hot and cold climates.

“Scotland is full of wildlife they can prey on. They are likely to play a valuable role in correcting imbalances in the ecosystem, as we have no other apex predators in Scotland.

Paul stressed that any further input into the map would be extremely helpful, adding: “The ideal details to include would be known or the approximate date/year of the sighting along with the color of the cat, estimated size and location.

“The Scottish Big Cat Mapping Project and details of currently active areas are not available online and all research is carried out in the interests of the animals.”

Comments should be sent to [email protected]or by direct message via the Big Cat Sightings in Scotland Facebook group.

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