Donald Alexander ''Ted'' Noble, farmer; born July 7, 1923, died December 11, 1998

Donald Alexander ''Ted'' Noble, the only Scot ever to capture a ''wild'' puma which had been roaming the countryside, has died at his farmhouse home in the Glen Affric area of the Highlands, at the age of 76.

After Ted and various of his neighbours in the Glen Affric and Strathglass areas of Inverness-shire had investigated reports of big cats being sighted locally for three years, he found success with a baited, specially built, cage-trap.

The puma, also known as the cougar or mountain lion, is a species native only to North America and lives off deer, small animals, birds, and also carrion in the wild.

Ted created a sensation when he discovered the beast trapped near Tomich, Inverness-shire, on October 29, 1980.

The animal was a top tourist draw for the next four years at the Highland Wildlife Park, Kincraig, near Aviemore, until she died in February 1985.

After death, the puma was preserved by a taxidermist and since then has been a prime exhibit at Inverness Museum, in the Highland capital's Castle Wynd.

Ted, of Kerrow Farm, Cannich, near Beauly, was aided in his successful trapping operation by Ian Graham, a senior inspector for the Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals, and by Janet Chisolm, a neighbouring farmer of nearby Tomich. He also had advice on the correct methods to use from a retired Colonel who, in his younger days, had been a big game hunter in Africa.

Surprisingly the beast did not turn out to be ferocious, but showed signs of being used to human company.

Later a man wrote to Ted from a prison cell in England, confessing that he had liberated several ''big cats'' in the Glen Affric area after driving them up from south of the Border. At that time, the Government had introduced tougher new licensing rules over the keeping of wild animals, hence the reason for her release.

Ted came from a well-known farming family in the Highlands. His grandfather was a banker who farmed at Tomatin, near Inverness, while his father, who bore the same name as himself, had three large farms and was a breeder of champion Aberdeen Angus cattle, some of which were exported for breeding purposes to Argentina and the US.

Ted himself was a well known breeder of pedigree Shetland Ponies in the 1960s. He sold blood stock to the US and all over Europe. Ted had a flock of 700 sheep on Kerrow Farm, where he was latterly assisted by his sons Willie and Julian. The farm once extended to around 4000 acres but a large part of the beautiful area is now a nature reserve operated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Ted, who was profoundly deaf all of his life following a childhood accident, was often an innovator, and he established a venue for glider aircraft on the farm in the scenic Glen in the mid-1960s.

He was pre-deceased by his wife Jean 13 years ago.

Right to the end Ted always told friends that he was particularily hurt that he was not publicly credited in the Museum's explanatory plaque as the captor of the puma.

The caption at the Museum points out that the animal died of old age and suggests that she was a former pet which had only spent a relatively short spell in the hills prior to her capture.