Thu, March 26, 2009
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Killer cat roams Poland

2009-03-26 10:55:27 GMT2009-03-26 18:55:27 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Residents in south western Poland are living in fear of a mysterious predator blamed for attacking and killing livestock over the past few days.

The animal is thought to be a rare snow leopard. It's has been sighted numerous times around Opole and has even been recorded on a mobile phone camera by a resident of Biala village. At another location, a driver informed the police that a big cat had jumped over his moving car while chasing a deer.

SCRIPT:

Polish pig farmer Tadeusz Wilczynski is taking no chances.

He's locking up his livestock after apparently losing a pig and dozens of piglets to a mystery big cat.

(SOUNDBITE) (Polish) PIG FARMER, TADEUSZ WILCZYNSKI, SAYING:

"Everybody is scared. We are 100 percent sure that this thing will return. Maybe tomorrow, maybe today, we don't know."

One local filmed the cat on his mobile phone.

And there've been numerous sightings in villages around the south west village of Opole.

(SOUNDBITE) (Polish) MOKRA RESIDENT ANDRZEJ WOJCIK, SAYING:

"I am afraid that something will follow me because I don't know, I don't have a clue what it is."

Local radio has been broadcasting big cat warnings.

They've been urging residents to travel by car and stay indoors after dark.

At Krakow Zoo they think they've identified the cat.

Hair found on the remains of animals killed by the predator suggest its a rare snow leopard.

(SOUNDBITE) (Polish) KRAKOW ZOO OFFICIAL, TERESA GREGA, SAYING:

"They are fast and agile, and they have big claws. Like every cat predator they're very dangerous."

But snow leopards don't normally behave in this way.

Cat experts say they usually devour prey in hiding and never blindly kill or maim.

(SOUNDBITE) (Polish) ANIMAL EXPERT, ANTONI GUCWINSKI, SAYING:

"This animal must be either very nervous, making it very dangerous because it can do just anything, or it is bored."

Either way locals want the killer caught before they become it's next lunch.

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