Winnie is not a puma, just a big kittycat

21st September 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 September 200, AMSTERDAM — The 'puma' that sparked searches by Dutch police and hunters in the Veluwe national park during the summer has been unmasked.

21 September 200

AMSTERDAM — The 'puma' that sparked searches by Dutch police and hunters in the Veluwe national park during the summer has been unmasked.

'I knew I saw a pussycat!"

The elusive but photo-friendly feline, dubbed Winnie, was initially thought to be a potentially dangerous puma. Then video footages taken by trackers from Dutch big cat sanctuary Pantera led to speculation Winnie was a cross between a puma and a jaguar.

And a clever one too: weeks of searches by experts failed to catch the cat which was prowling the woods near the Dutch cities of Apeldoorn and Ede.

But new high-resolution pictures reveal Winnie is not a 'big cat' but a really big wildcat, according to biologist Gerrit Jansen.

The latest photographs were captured by nature photographer Otto Faulhaber and were  published in regional newspaper 'De Gelderlander' on Wednesday.

Faulhaber spotted Winnie on Monday 150 metres from him in a meadow beside the Hulhorstweg in Beekbergen. The animal captured a mole or a mouse and played with a normal domestic cat. Winnie was one-and-a-half times bigger than its playmate.

Jansen examined the pictures and concluded Winnie is a "huge cat", probably a cross between a European wildcat and a a domestic cat gone wild.

He estimated the mystery cat is 30 to 40 centimetres high and 60 centimetres long. But it is without a doubt a cat, rather than a puma or jaguar.

European wildcats are mainly found in Eastern Europe, but now and then one shows up in the Netherlands.

Biologist Marc Damen of Arnhem Zoo supported Jansen's findings. He said several dozen cats that have gone wild live in the Veluwe.

As for the idea of a puma in the national park, Damen said: "I still have not seen any evidence of this."

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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