Every time – and I mean every time – I read a report about a mysterious big cat sighting the report is accompanied by a very fuzzy video and/or a still image which is usually a screenshot from the video or one that is equally blurred. That’s important as often it is simply news media clickbait.
And when you think about it the video recording of a mysterious big cat MUST be blurred and difficult to decipher because if it was clear and of good quality, it would no longer be a mystery big cat.
It would clearly be a domestic cat minding their own business in a field (the usual outcome) or a Labrador or in the most recent high-profile big cat mystery media blitz, a wild boar because wild boar are commonplace in the area where the sighting occurred.
In an earlier post on a different website, I provided my version of events on the recent bedlam in Berlin as more than 200 police officers, helicopters and tacker dogs searched for a lioness in Berlin’s suburbs. A number of witnesses said that they saw a lion wandering around the undergrowth in the southern suburb of Kleinmachnow.
One of them captured that all-important BLURRED, INDECIPERABLE video. People scratched their heads. I decided that it was a large dog. But it is NEVER a mystery big cat. Believe me. It is remarkable that people actually believe these sightings and that includes the Mayor of Kleinmachow, Michael Grubert, who, yesterday, was convinced that it was an escaped lionness. Bedlam ensued.
He has egg on his face and he was looking a little sheepish when he told a news conference that wildlife experts had concluded that there was no big cat at all.
I was distinctly underwhelmed by the news as it was entirely predictable. I mean, in this story, no one had reported a lion escape from a zoo or circus. The chances of it being an escaped pet lion from a Berlin apartment was zero. So how could it have been a lion?
Common sense needs to be applied to these situations. But people are automatically fearful of the threat of large cats. It is almost as if humankind has an inherited fear of big cats going back to the time when the first humans trod the planet and when they needed to be fearful of lions as they was a healthy wild population in Europe at that time.
Local police had heightened the belief that it was a lion as two police officers were witnesses. There were official warnings to stay indoors and one family drove their kids to school rather than letting them cycle there.
Having settled down and removed the excited hype and fear, animal experts decided that it was a wild boar based on the ‘curvature of the spine, thickness of the legs and length of the tail’ (quote from The Times).
Grubert said “We believe that there is no acute danger”.
He added, “I say with good conscience, be vigilant when you go jogging in the woods but there is no threat”. He meant be vigilant about the wild boar!
Apparently, someone bagged up some feces and fur that they had recovered, which was sent to a laboratory for analysis. And a local crime boss was shown with a tiger cub in a social media posting which encouraged residents to believe that the mystery lion was an escaped pet.
It must have been a very expensive police operation over nothing but which was justified by Grubert
The threat situation posed by sightings of a wild animal justified the operation.The mayor
The presumption should always be that a mystery big cat sighting is incorrect and proceed from that starting point. Save money, time and effort. I have read many big cat mystery stories over 15 years and none of the sightings were of big cats. Not one.
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