La Cala cougar captured on camera at last

LAST UPDATED: 30 Sep, 2008 @ 10:15
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Could this be the La Cala cougar? Click here to watch the video

La Cala CougarA Briton, who has a home in the seaside resort, has taken a video and two photos of what he believes might be the wildcat that has been living in the area for at least a year.

First spotted by an eagle eyed Olive Press reader in October 2007, the black panther has since been spotted by readers in Alhaurin, Monda and even Campillos.

But now sharp-eyed Steve Rhodes, spotted the cat on two occasions on a recent visit to Mijas Costa.

The first was at 9pm one evening and the next time a few days later at 8am in the morning.

Rhodes, who normally travels everywhere with a video camera, only had a small camera with a 3x zoom to take this video and pictures.

“It was really annoying as I normally have my video camera at all times, but I did what I could,” he explained.

“While it is difficult to get a proper idea here, he is definitely larger than a domestic cat, has a much longer tail and is very agile and was jumping over rocks.

“He was actually rolling around in the dirt outside a newly built apartment block.”

Rhodes has asked that we don’t reveal the exact location of the area, as he fears the authorities, or local Spaniards, might decide to hunt him down.

The La Cala Cougar, as we christened him in Issue 19, was first spotted by English couple Ean and Valerie Ritchie on their estate at Los Claveles last year.

While they were able to take a blurry photo, with a vet confirming it looked like a wild cat, a long police search with 20 dogs failed to find any signs of the animal.

A spokesman for Seprona said it was more likely to be a wild boar of dog.

The following issue though we interviewed another Briton Gary Jacks, who claimed to have seen the cat three times in Alhaurin.

Jacks, who lived just across the Sierra Gorda from the Ritchies, estimated the wildcat was a puma, panther or jaguar. “It was very scary and bigger than our Great Dane with a long black tail,” he explained.

He estimated that the cat might be living on goats, or even dogs.

“I have heard about goats being ripped apart on the nearby slopes. And someone recently told me that a dog had been mauled nearby. It apparently had all the hallmarks of a big cat.”

This theory seemed to hold water after a “panther-like” feline was accused of killing over a dozen Iberican pigs in a hilly area, known as El Canuelo, near Campillos.

The pig farmer told the Olive Press that the animal had been seen by a number of his staff.

“He’s black with shiny hair and is very agile and moves quickly,” explained Ramon Garcia Valdecasas, adding that in the same attack he had also injured nine other animals.

A month later (issue 23), a trio of riders from the stable Andalusian Horseriding Adventure, in Monda, saw two large grey cats, while riding on a track between Monda and Guaro, which skirts the edge of the Sierra de las Nieves national park.

“All of a sudden these two large cats jumped out across the trail, and casually strode in front before shooting off into the woods,” said Malcolm Platt. “They were four or five times larger than a normal cat and grey in colour. They had long pointed ears and were very graceful.”

Have you seen the La Cala cougar or anything like him? [email protected]

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