Gordon Welsh believes he spotted a ‘hybrid panther’ in Scotland (Picture: Pen News/Gordon Welsh)
Gordon Welsh says he was walking along a road near the hamlet of Blackdog in Aberdeenshire (yes, Blackcat would have been better) when the suspected feline made an appearance.
‘I was just walking at the time and I’ve just seen it like limping – that’s what caught my eye,’ he said.
‘I was like “‘the hell is that?” But then I was like “it’s nae a cat, it’s too big”.’
Gordon, from Aberdeen, added: ‘I’ve been a ghillie [hunting expedition attendant], deerstalker, farmhand the best of my days, so I ken the difference between a domestic cat, a feral cat and that cat.’
He said the animal was possibly the size of a greyhound or bigger and was ‘well solid looking’.
He thinks it could be a ‘hybrid panther’.
The creature was limping said Gordon (Picture: Pen News/Gordon Welsh)
‘From the way it was moving, the tail size and that, it was slightly like a panther, but it could be a crossbreed,’ he said.
Gordon – one of many enthusiasts who believe the UK has it’s own population of large felids- said it wasn’t his first big cat encounter.
‘I’ve seen ‘em plenty of times, I’ve seen lynx, I’ve seen panthers, I’ve seen crossbreeds – they’re all over the place, trust me.
‘To be quite honest with you, most will think you mad, but these things are out there, as a certainty.’
In his footage, the creature is seen limping down a hillside, before disappearing in the long grass at the field’s edge.
Gordon shared the clip on a Facebook group dedicated to Scottish big cat sightings and several people agreed it looked like a panther.
One wrote: ‘It’s clearly a panther, look at the size of it.’
While another said: ‘That’s no house cat.’
Not everyone was convinced, however, with some claiming it was in fact a domestic cat, albeit a large one.
But Gordon isn’t too bothered by the nay-sayers.
‘A lot of folk are saying they’ve seen other sightings round about the same area.
Panthers are native to Asia, Africa and the Americas (Stock picture: Shutterstock /AB Photographie)
‘You always get the one or two who think “no, this is just total crap, it’s a cat”.
‘But you’re like “ah well, believe it if you want,” if you dinnae it’s nae skin off my nose. I’m nae worrying, I ken what I’ve seen.’
Gordon believes the animal may have been attracted to the area by the abundance of local wildlife to eat.
‘There’s plenty of deer, and also down towards the sea itself you’ve got other deer, rabbits, foxes, anything else like that,” he said.
‘They would not bother humans, really. They’re more skittish of us than of anything else.
‘He was only out during the day because he was hurt, or was just taking the path of least resistance across a park.’
In 2018, police issued a warning to residents of a black panther sighting in Ayshire, Scotland.
A police helicopter was even dispatched to try and locate the creature.
However, after inspecting images taken of the ‘panther’ it was decided the animal was in fact a domestic cat.
The existence of a wild big cat population in Britain remains unproven. And though there have been isolated cases of big cats being captured, sceptics claim they were illegally-kept exotic pets that escaped, or were released by their overwhelmed owners.
Black panthers are not a distinct species of cat but an umbrella term for any big cat with with a black coat, caused by a specific gene most commonly found in leopards and jaguars.
The animals are native to Asia, Africa and the Americas and are classed as endangered.
Generally nocturnal and solitary, black panthers are said to be quiet and cautious but have been known to be aggressive.
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He claims big cats ‘are all over the place’ in the UK.