Dead sheep mystery sparks big cat theory

Jane MacKay Lynch from Ashaig feeding her sheep.
PHOTO: Willie Urquhart/WHFP

The deaths of two sheep on Skye has sparked a theory that a mysterious big cat roaming the south of the island may be responsible.

Jane Mackay Lynch lives next to the Ashaig airstrip and was tending to her flock of sheep when she made a shocking discovery between Christmas and New Year.

She explained to the Free Press: “On the afternoon of Christmas Eve I fed them some nuts and hay and they were all fine.

“I returned on the morning of the 27th to do the same and one of my Zwartbles sheep was missing — she is brown and quite noticeable.”

After some time searching Jane discovered a carcass. She continued to check her flock daily and found another of her sheep dead on New Year’s Day.

“I was totally in shock when I found a fully grown ewe carcass — I have lambs from last year which are much smaller so you’d think whatever did it would go for them.

“Even the ear tags were chewed to pieces.”

Jane said she suspected a sea eagle had lifted one of her lambs last summer. On that occasion she had checked the lamb, left to feed her pigs, and returned 20 minutes later to find no trace.

Jane took to local Facebook group Skye Free Ads in a bid to alert other crofters.

Her post was also met with another theory – could the sheep have been killed by a big cat?

Stuart Lamont who looks after the nearby Ashaig Airstrip reckoned so.

He said: “I have been told, probably about a year ago, of a couple of sightings of a big cat in the south end of the island.

“I too have seen one in Ashaig on CCTV.

“I am used to seeing dogs and walkers, this was the size of a large dog but not the same shape.

“It was low slung like a cat.”

When asked about the theory, Jane told the Free Press: “I have never seen anything like that around here, but it is not totally unbelievable.”