A DOG walker has stumbled upon the corpse of an animal experts believe may have been a puma near a Scottish beauty spot.
John Robertson, 50, was walking his two dogs along a rural path in Cullen, Moray, with his wife Pauline, on Monday when he found the remains of what appeared to be a cat the size of a large dog.
Just metres from the rotting corpse were the remains of what may have been its last meal – half a dozen mauled seagulls.
Mr Robertson, from Drybridge, Moray, said yesterday: “I was walking my two dogs on Monday morning when we came across all these dead birds scattered about everywhere.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have never seen so many dead birds in one area. They were completely mauled, they had their guts totally ripped out of them lying on the ground.
“Then a little further on we came across a horrible rotting smell which was this big cat.
“It looks like it has feasted on the seagulls and maybe it has fallen down the cliff nearby, injured itself and just lay there till it died.”
But despite its 18-inch-long tail and its sharp teeth, Mr Robertson claimed the animal was a cub.
He said: “If you see its skin, it’s jet black and I actually think it’s a juvenile.
“I didn’t have a tape measure on me to measure the tail, but I’m a builder so I have a pretty good idea that it’s about 18 inches long, which is huge.
“I reckon it’s a cub – its teeth are too clean and there isn’t enough damage to them, which means they must be pretty new. If that’s a cub though, you can imagine how big its mother would be.
“I’m sure we’ll find out from the DNA tests what type of cat it is, but it certainly seems like one of the big cats.”
Bob Wallace, an expert with the Big Cats In Britain research group, is now studying the remains to determine what Mr Robertson found.
While the cat is not big enough to be an adult leopard or jaguar, Mr Wallace believes it is the right size to be a cub.
He said: “If it is a juvenile, it would have to be last year’s cub, as both leopards and jaguars mate between January and March.
“It is also hard to say whether this is the cat that is the subject of the spate of recent sightings.
“Over the past few years, there have been several reported sightings of black panther-type cats, as well as pumas and lynx.”
As recently as 16 April, there was a sighting of what was described as a cat-like animal as large as a labrador, by a man walking his dog at Rathven Burn in Moray.
That sighting was very similar to eyewitness accounts from just two months earlier.
In February, a man from Portgordon, also in Moray, said he saw an animal matching the same description beside an old railway line in the village. Later that week, there was a similar sighting at Buckpool Golf Club.