Mountain Lion Sighting in the Middle of Edinburgh, Scotland!

This is a big cat sighting which has all the hallmarks of journalistic fiction on a quiet day for decent news.  However, this mountain lion sighting has ostensibly been confirmed by the police using a heat sensing camera.  I can only presume that journalists are working with the police to drum up a bit of a story on a quiet day for both of them. Big cat sightings are the automatic, default choice for journalists who have dried up.

Arthur's Seat
Arthur’s Seat
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Inspector Nick Whyte of the local police force was on board a helicopter at the time.  The date was 2012.  The police were searching for a mother who was considered vulnerable after they’d discovered a 2-year-old baby abandoned near one of their police stations.

The helicopter was called out at night and they were searching the area where the baby had been found.  The thermal imaging camera on the helicopter detected something….

“We detected a very large heat source that we thought was possibly the mother.  As I directed a female officer towards it, the heat source got up and it turns out it was a big cat – we think a puma or something like that.  We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.  It wasn’t a domestic cat, because on the same part of the screen you could see the female police officer and this thing was, you know, three times the size of her.  It was huge.  She couldn’t see it and she couldn’t hear it.  I just told calmly to stop where she was in turn around and walk away, and she did.  The cat bounded off, never to be seen again.  Sadly we don’t have the video footage from it.”

pet pumas
Pet Pumas

It all sounds very authentic, totally believable and totally genuine except for the fact that he describes the cat as three times the size of a woman and there is no video to prove it all.

Pumas are not three times the size of people.  Many pumas, particularly females, are of a similar size to a woman.  They’re not as big as people think they are but then again people tend to exaggerate the size of “big cats” because they are fearful of them.

The sighting took place bang in the middle of Edinburgh at a place called Arthur’s Seat.  It is a mountain or a large hill surrounded by Edinburgh.

Well, I know I’m cynical but using legal language, on the bounce of probabilities, it is far more likely that this is a drummed up story rather than a true sighting.

Source: Police helicopter ‘saw puma on Arthur’s Seat’….

9 thoughts on “Mountain Lion Sighting in the Middle of Edinburgh, Scotland!”

    • They originally released the thermal video in the news and it was later removed.

      I clearly remember seeing the video and won’t be the only one. Must have been 12/13 years ago now.

      The video was 100% on the story however so it wasn’t a fabricated news story, or if it was it was over done and they have to remove the video… Which seems less likely.

  1. Three times the woman’s size? I’ve worked with thermal images for the military and I know that you can’t always judge perspective on thermal images (unless you are using ones that combine visible light as well as heat). The resolution on many non-military thermal imagers is not very good – the more something radiates heat, the less well-defined it is as a shape and the bigger it looks (the imager is picking up the radiated heat surrounding the object). Bearing that in mind, it’s way more likely to be an unaccompanied dog. Or a stray deer (roe deer have turned up in the streets of my home town and in town gardens). Or even a couple of people carrying something!

    • Another excellent point Sarah. You’d have thought the police would have realised this. This is why I think they hype it up for the press.

  2. Are Mountain Lions even native to Britain? Like they are where I am in Northern California. Or were they a species that was brought in and let loose like pythons in Florida.

    • They are not native to the UK so if this is a genuine puma it was imported and is a pet. They are the latter in your description. It is just possible that this mountain exists in Scotland and is an escaped pet. There is a lot of uninhabited land in Scotland so a puma would be left alone at least. North Scotland is the only place in the UK where a wild cat can exist (the Scottish wildcat)..

      • That’s what I thought as well. That the puma or what we say in California The Mountain Lion wasn’t native to Britain.

        Around here Mountain Lion sightings are a dime a dozen in the mountains. And in Santa Cruz where I grew up they tell the university students to be careful when walking around on some of the trails.

        • It is similar though in some US states where the mountain lion no longer exists. Sometimes there are sightings and they could be escaped pets.


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