Saturday, 15 November 2014

-NEWSLINK-Tiger schmiger – big cat sightings simply play on our will to believe

A tiger up closeA tiger up close Tigers, pumas, panthers … 'there is no more evidence for the existence of these animals in the wild than there is for the Loch Ness monster'. Photograph: Jenny Evans/EPA The helicopters were scrambled, the marksmen were mobilised; the police swept the woods and everyone was looking VERY STERN AND SERIOUS after the prints of a dog were found on a molehill. Un chien? Non, non, c’est vraiment un tigre. To which I say that the French authorities, who until a few hours ago were chasing a paper tiger into the woods near Paris, are as gullible as their counterparts in the UK. It’s not complicated. Tigers have retractable claws which are sheathed when they walk; the prints they were following have claw marks. They belong to a dog. Nor is the dog in question “an enormous coal-black hound” whose “muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame”, but a creature no larger than a cocker spaniel. It was probably on a lead. So far the army of police and firefighters deployed to find this beast have failed. A local official explained that the animal had probably been “snoring serenely somewhere” during the hunt. Too right it was. Perhaps in a basket at the foot of its owner’s bed, in a diamante collar with the phone number attached. This morning a new set of prints was found, made by a different dog. They showed, the French media reported, that the tiger was closing on Paris. Now the gendarmerie has at last admitted what seemed obvious from the beginning: there is no tiger. A tiger, at least, was original. In Britain, most of the big cats reported (three-quarters according to a survey by the author Merrily Harpur) are black, and generally, according to the 2,000 or more people who claim to have seen them every year, “glossy and muscular”. They turn up everywhere. Even London isn’t spared the phantom menace: there’s a Beast of Barnet, a Crystal Palace Puma, and a Sydenham Panther. The Essex lion, which caused a cat flap in 2012 very similar to the Parisian frénésie, was an exception to the glossy, black rule. These animals do not exist. A handful of animals have been released from captivity and caught again, in most cases almost immediately. None of them are black. The evidence that big cats leave in abundance wherever they live – pugmarks, hairs, dens, spraying points and scratching posts – is nowhere to be found. A five-week hunt by Royal Marines, a six-month government commission on Bodmin Moor, police helicopters, armed response teams and the mass deployment of the best tracking, attracting and sensing technologies known to humankind has uncovered nothing but moggies, dogs and foxes. The hundreds of amateurs who have devoted much of their lives to finding or trapping these beasts have so far caught just one-READ MORE-

1 comment:

  1. What you mean the Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist. LOL