Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More big cats are spotted outside Scottish town

Paisley (UK) Daily Express
Aug 8 2006

More big cats have been spotted in the countryside around Paisley.

Trackers believe there is a female leopard or black leopard with two fully-grown cubs living within four miles of Paisley town centre.

Sandy Smith, from the Scottish Big Cat Investigation group, said they had received reports of the big cat family in woodlands between Paisley and Bishopton.

"If our information is correct, this would mean there must also be a male big cat somewhere around who would be the father of the cubs.

"It also means that when the two cubs become fully independent after about a year their mother could be ready to have more cubs.

"And the cubs themselves would be looking for mates when they reach adulthood so the big cat population in Renfrewshire could rise substantially.

"It all promises to be an exciting time for watching big cats in Renfrewshire.

"We first picked up the trail of a big cat some time ago at the Linn Park in the South Side of Glasgow,

"It could possibly have been dumped there by an owner following new legislation which forced owners to obtain licences and secure the premises where the animals were kept.

"This costs thousands of pounds and, although many owners complied, others found the costs too prohibitive and just released their animals into the wild.

"From Linn Park, we ended up following a trail which took us through the Newton Mearns, Paisley, Erskine, Langbank, Kilmacolm, Bridge of Weir and Lochwinnoch areas.

"We are still following up all these sightings and getting more and more reports of big cats."

Mr Smith says the felines are unlikely to be dangerous unless they are cornered.

He adds members of his group are not out to catch or harm the big cats. "We just want to record them because that’s the buzz."

Anyone with information about the big cats – especially the sightings at Ranfurly Castle golf course and the ROF woodlands – should ring Mr Smith on 01505 872482.

As reported previously in the Express, there have been several sightings of large creatures resembling lynxes and leopards in woods and along riverbanks across Renfrewshire.

Experts with binoculars, telescopes and cameras have mounted 24-hour vigils hoping to see and photograph some of the exotic animals which have been regularly showing up at places like the Merchiston Hospital grounds, near Johnstone; forests ay the Royal Ordnance Factory, near Bishopton; and Ranfurly Castle golf course, near Bridge of Weir.


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