A MORAY man has captured proof of what he describes as a ‘big cat’, while walking his dogs in a rural area around Cullen.
His remarkable pictures are now being studied by experts, in a bid to determine exactly what was discovered by Buckie man John Robertson early last Monday morning.
There have been numerous reported sightings of ‘big black cats’ around the Buckie area in the past weeks, although it is not known whether the mysterious beast photographed by Mr Robertson is the same animal spotted in areas including Buckpool and Portgordon.
Mr Robertson told ‘The Northern Scot’ that he was out walking with his wife, Pauline, on Monday morning when he spotted what he described as a "seriously big cat" on a remote coastal path near Cullen beach.
He said that the dead animal, which he believed to be at least twice the size of a large domestic cat, had jet black skin and a tail that was approximately 18 inches long. He also said that it had "huge" top and bottom fangs.
"I got a real shock when I found it," Mr Robertson said. "I do a lot of hill walking where I go off the beaten track, and that is what I was doing when I stumbled across it."
On April 16, Portessie man Bill Paterson saw what he described as a cat-like animal as large as a labrador, while walking his dog in a wooded area surrounded by the Rathven Burn and beside Burnside Cemetery.
That sighting was a carbon copy of eye-witness accounts from just two months earlier.
In February, a Portgordon man said he saw an animal matching the same description beside an old railway line in the village. Later that week, an identical animal was seen twice in a matter of days at Buckpool Golf Club.
Bob Wallace, an expert with the Big Cats In Britain group, said the smaller size of the dead cat would rule it out as an actual ‘big cat’ such as a panther or leopard.
"That is not to say that it couldn’t be a juvenile, of course," he said. "If that was the case, it would have to have been last year’s cub, as both leopard and jaguar mate between January and March."
Other possibilities, he said, are that it is a large feral cat, or what is known as a ‘Kellas cat’.
To read more on this story, see this week's 'Northern Scot'