Dog walker’s encounter with ‘panther-like’ cat

Black panther

Black panther

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IS there a big cat on the prowl in Lower Largo?

One tourist to the area certainly believes so after coming face to face with a labrador-sized feline while out walking last weekend.

Alison Harkeff, from Edinburgh, was visiting the area when she went out dog walking near to the old train track in Lower Largo last Sunday.

However, her sightseeing trek provided her with a little more than she bargained for after the creature, she says, “moseyed” in front of her for a few seconds before wandering off into the woodland and shrubbery.

Alison told the Mail: “I was on the old railway line, near to the Railway Inn, when I saw what looked like a labrador in front of me.

“I just thought that somebody else was out walking a dog before I got a little closer and thought ‘that’s no dog.

“It looked more like a panther.”

Alsion claims the animal had a long tail and pointy ears similar to a cat, and described its movement as “a lot more slinky” than a dog.

Big cat sightings are nothing new in Fife, although the majority are reported across in the west of the county.

There has been no official confirmation of their existence, with the animals considered nocturnal and shy by experts.

Experts also believe the animals, often described as being black and with long tails, have been released into the wild to fend for themselves after previously being part of private collections.

Alison added: “We were walking around 20 metres behind it.

“It didn’t see us and just kind of mosied on without a care in the world.

“It didn’t look round and I don’t think it knew that we were behind it.

“I was absolutely amazed because I’m a great animal lover.

“Later on that day we went down to Shell Bay and I was recounting the story to a man who told us there was a lot of sightings in the Fife area.”

The Big Cats in Britain group has acknowledged Fife’s frequent sightings and placed two ‘trail cameras’ in local hot spots to gather evidence.

Founder Mark Fraser said: “We are looking for more safe locations to place the cameras.

“It is only by having these remote eyes in the countryside that will give us a real chance to catch on camera what witnesses have been reporting for decades.”