Friday, July 13, 2007

Perspective: British blamed for mysterious beast of Basra

British forces operating around the southern Iraqi city of Basra are being blamed for the arrival of a plague of vicious badgers that stalk the streets at night, attacking livestock and even humans.

Local farmers have caught and killed several of the beasts, but this has done nothing to dispel rumours of a bear-like monster that eats humans and was, according to the local rumour mill, released into the area by UK forces to spread panic.

Major David Gell, a British Army spokesman, said the animals were thought to be a kind of honey badger or ratel - melivora capensis - which can be fierce but are not usually dangerous to humans unless provoked.

The animals are indigenous to Africa and large parts of the Middle East and are about the same size as European European badgers but much more aggressive, with long claws and strong jaws. They have been described in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most fearless animal.

Read the rest at the Times of London