Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 27th, 2009
With decapitations in the wind, as I have discussed elsewhere regarding the Batman rollcoaster decapitation last June, the “Windigo beheading” of last July, and the very recent horrific news from VA Tech, is it surprising that an animal beheading should overlap into the cryptid world too?
Could a big cat be to blame for death of Olivia the ostrich?
Riddle of 7ft bird found decapitated at Somerset zoo
By Steven Morris, The Guardian, London, Tuesday 27 January 2009 14.11 GMT
They are not having too much luck with their ostriches at the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Somerset.
Just last year their fiery male, Oscar, died after battering himself against a fence while trying to get to a group of tempting-looking emus on a faraway hill.
And today, keepers at the zoo in Wraxall, near Bristol, are trying to work out what terrible fate has befallen Olivia, one of their two female ostriches.
Horrified staff found Olivia very much dead, her head bitten clean off. At first they assumed a tenacious fox had slipped through the deer fence and somehow managed to bring down the 7ft-tall bird.
But from the shadows, big cat experts have emerged to suggest that it might just have been one of the wild cats that, some believe, prowl areas of the south-west of England.
Chris Hall, of Big Cats in Britain, said: “There have already been several sightings in the Bristol and Gloucester area so it’s quite likely that one of the beasts is to blame.
“Ostriches are no pushover and it would have been a very strong creature to try its luck with such a formidable bird.”
The run of bad luck for the zoo’s ostrich flock began when Oscar started charging a fence.
Zoo owner Anthony Bush said: “We rang up Oscar’s owner and asked him why. He told us that Oscar had been in love with some emus. There happened to be two emus in the next-door field.”
Bush moved the emus to where they really belonged – the Australasia section of the zoo – and thought the problem would be solved. Sadly, from the Africa area, Oscar could still see the emus.
He began charging another section of fence until he knocked himself senseless. The vet was called but could not save him.
Bush said he believed it was possible a big cat was in the area. Indeed, a sheep had recently been badly mauled, prompting one keeper to sleep out in the hope of seeing a big cat.
But he believes Olivia may have been spooked by a fox, bashed herself against a fence and then, once she had been incapacitated, lost her head to a fox.
“The sad thing is that if Oscar had still been around he would have seen off the fox. The females are more placid and easily spooked. They are creatures of very little brain.”
Thanks to Tim Chapman for passing this along.