Big Cat Attack in Scottish Park Raises Alarm

Parents have been warned to be on their guard after police revealed a dangerous big cat is on the loose near a Scottish caravan park.

Officers issued an extraordinary alert after a horse was the victim of a savage attack in the middle of the night.

The terrified animal suffered deep slash marks to its hind quarters, which experts later concluded had been caused by a big cat - possibly even a 6ft long puma spotted in the area two months ago.

Worryingly, the animal attacked next to a caravan holiday park full of families enjoying the summer break.

Last night a spokesman for Strathclyde Police said mothers and fathers with young children should take "particular care" in case they stumbled across the beast.

The horse was attacked near Sundrum Holiday Park, Coylton, Ayrshire, sometime last Friday.

Strathclyde Police said the unnamed owner saw to his horses that morning and noticed one had been badly injured.

A spokesman for the force said: 'He contacted a local vet who carried out an examination and concluded the injuries appeared to have been inflicted by a wild animal rather than by a human.

'Police were contacted and officers have sought the expertise of several specialists who have analysed the pictures of the injuries in an effort to determine the cause.

'Those spoken to are of the opinion the injuries caused to the horse have most probably been made by a big cat, possibly a puma.'

Although its injuries were severe, the animal was treated and is making a good recovery.

Last night Superintendent John Hazlett, of Ayr police office, warned people to be on the look-out and appealed for any sightings to be reported to help them track the beast.

He added: 'At this time after consultation with experts the evidence points to a big cat possibly a puma having caused the injuries to the horse.

'There was a possible sighting of a large cat in the grounds of Sundrum Castle back in May, when a member of staff at the castle reported seeing a very large cat prowling the grounds around 9am one morning.

'Described as sandy coloured, approximately 4ft tall and 6ft long, experts believe that this may have been a puma sighting although this has never been confirmed and as far as we are aware, there haven't been any sightings since.

'From what we have been told by experts, it is unlikely that a puma would approach and present any danger to humans and would make every attempt to avoid them, however the obvious advice to members of the public is not to approach this animal but report any sightings to the police.

'I would urge anyone who sees a large cat in the area to contact us as a matter of urgency, and I would also ask local farmers to take extra caution with their animals and to contact police if any of them are injured.'

Last night the owners of stables in the area were in the dark about the attack.

Both the Drumcoyle Livery Yard and the Lionsgate Riding Centre had heard nothing about the big cat. Local vets were also unaware of the attack.

Meanwhile, Mark Fraser, of research group Scottish Big Cats, said there had been several big cat sightings in Ayrshire over the years, but they had mainy involved black animals.

He said if a member of the public came across one it would probably flee, but added that it could attack if cornered.

'It would probably run away and most probably be away before you saw it.

'If you do come face to face with a cat the advice is to stand still, raise your arms to make yourself look bigger and make a lot of noise, while backing away slowly.'


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