Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Sunday, November 14, 1999 Published at 12:27 GMT


Beast of Bodmin evades RAF cameras

The big cat mystery is still unsolved

Hi-tech efforts to capture the legendary Beast of Bodmin on film have failed because of bad weather on the Cornish moor.

RAF reserve volunteers spent Saturday night camped in ditches and under hedges with the latest military night-vision equipment.

But all attempts by members of 2625 County of Cornwall Squadron to spot a big cat were scuppered by low cloud and mist.

However, Squadron Leader Andrew McCombe told BBC News Online that several intruder detection devices were triggered during the night.

"So something was moving along the tracks," he said, "but because of the cloud we could not get a good look.

[ image: Watching you watching me on the 1998 video]
Watching you watching me on the 1998 video
"It was an interesting and useful training exercise and we will be doing it again in the New Year."

The would be beast-baggers are volunteers in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, the RAF's equivalent of the Territorial Army.

Four members of the 2625 County of Cornwall squadron have served in Kosovo and eight have been on active duty in Kuwait.

The skills and equipment used in the night time operation in Cornwall are the same as those used when staffing observation posts on the edges of RAF airfields.

The existence of big cats on Bodmin Moor has never been proven beyond doubt, although many Cornish farmers maintain they have lost sheep to large, savage animals.

In August 1998 a 20-second video was released and was declared by some wild cat experts to be the best evidence yet that big cats roam Bodmin Moor.

There have been about 60 big cat sightings recorded in the area since 1983 but in 1995 a government report concluded there was no evidence that big cats existed on the moor.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

13 Nov 99 | UK
HI-tech search for Beast of Bodmin

18 Aug 99 | UK
Puma hunters target Wales

20 Nov 98 | UK
Hunters try to bag Dartmoor lion

27 Sep 98 | UK
Home Counties puma alert

21 Jul 98 | UK
'Beast of Bodmin' captured on video

Internet Links

The Natural History Museum's Science Casebook

Royal Auxiliary Air Force

Mystery Cats

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online