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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Big cat sightings on rise in Fife
The cat was spotted in this area of undergrowth in Glenrothes
Sightings of an unusually large black cat in Fife are increasing, police have confirmed.

The latest was outside the Homebase store in Glenrothes on Wednesday. A retired couple witnessed an animal hunting for food in bushes.

Eight other incidents have been reported to Fife Constabulary since July. The force's wildlife officer said a panther could be in the area.

The animal can survive on as little as a single rabbit per day.

It appears to hunt over a very large area.

In the latest incident, the large cat was spotted very close to a commercial property.

16 July, Auchtermuchty
15 Aug, Leven
16 Aug, Leven
20 Aug, Pittenweem
23 Aug, Glenrothes
25 Aug, Glenrothes
10 Sept, Kirkcaldy
2 Oct, Glenrothes

Witness Charles Milne told the BBC Scotland news website: ""It was in the crouch position and just as we were talking about it, it leapt into the shrubbery. It was obviously hunting and that's the last we saw of it.

"We had a good look at it but only for 30, 40 seconds really but long enough."

He was with his wife Felicity who verified what her husband saw.

She said: "It was absolutely a large cat and it pounced into the bushes and that's the last we saw of it. We tried to look for it but it wasn't going to be seen."

There was a flurry of sightings in Fife last year but the animal appeared to have gone to ground.

Mark Maylin, Fife Constabulary's wildlife liaison officer, said: "I have a theory that everyone believes what they've seen but some may be mistaken."

"But there are so many, I don't believe they are all wrong," he added.

The couple tell how the cat jumped out in front of them

Police search after big cat seen
27 Nov 06 |  Shropshire
Police warn of 'big cat' in hills
25 Nov 06 |  Mid Wales

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