A black leopard. Photo: Tambako the Jaguar CC-BY-ND-2.0

A black leopard. Photo: Tambako the Jaguar CC-BY-ND-2.0

Walkers are being warned to be on the lookout for large cat spotted in Easter Ross.

Police say the panther-like creature was seen by a member of the public walking near Dornoch at the weekend.

The area, near the Dornoch Firth, is popular with coastal walkers. The animal was seen between Dornoch Caravan Park and the greenkeeper’s shed at Dornoch Golf Club at 8am on Saturday.

The sighting is the second in a week in the Easter Ross and Sutherland area. Northern Constabulary said a walker spotted what they described as a ‘very large, muscular black cat with a square head’ in the Fendon area of Tain, 8km (5 miles) away, across the Dornoch Firth, last Thursday. It was reported as being about 4ft long, with a 2 to 3ft tail.

The coast near Dornoch Golf Club, where the big cat was sighted

The coast near Dornoch Golf Club, where the big cat was sighted

A spokesperson said: “Police are advising members of the public not to approach the animal if they come across it and report any sightings to their nearest police station.”

The reported sightings follow an alert in the Highlands last month when a walker said he had seen a ‘very large, black cat’ in Inshriach Forest near Kincraig, south of Aviemore.

At the time, Douglas Richardson, animal manager of the nearby Highland Wildlife Park, said the chances of it being a large cat were remote and that mistaken sightings are common. He pointed out the general public often has difficulties identifying even human beings.

He said: “I’ve been called out on many wild goose chases after sightings like this. They usually end up being a dog that’s been seen.

“A large cat could survive in this area, but the chances of this being a genuine sighting of a large cat are very remote.”

The only two types of large cat corresponding to the description, he said, are the black leopard and the black jaguar.

Anyone with information about the Easter Ross sightings is asked to phone Northern Constabulary at Dornoch on 01862 862222.