I received this email from a HK Outdoors member:
I had a strange experience on saturday. I was on the trail to Lai Chi Wo. (very deep New Territories). It was on the stairs out of So Lo Pun.
Something roared at me.
It was a few feet in front of me, but hidden out of sight.
It was on a steep trail with very thick undergrowth on each side. Then there was a huge commotion, as I presume it departed quickly.
This was the noise of a big cat. It wasn't a full-blooded lion's roar, but it was throaty in that same style, and deep in tone.
Would a leopard cat make that deep noise, or could this be something bigger?
As you can imagine, I was petrified, but had to go on, because I had to finish the trail.
I passed to Paul Crow, at Kadoorie Farm, and he replied:
My best educated guess having also come across similar roars is that this was probably a surprised wild boar. They can sound a lot like a bear/large cat and produce a pretty blood curdling spine chilling guttural sound. And surprise surprise my most powerful memory of this was during the Frontier Closed area survey work KFBG did a few years back where I was camera trapping from Kuk Po thru Yeung Shue Au to So Lo Pun- Somewhere on that trail I met my BearCat too!
I confirmed boar visibly and from sign but Henry and I listened for quite some time to the growls of the big cat we were hearing until we managed to catch a glimpse.
Thanks for this info; might solve Simon's mystery.
I'd thought wild boar would have only pig sounds; but a tiger type roar would be good I guess - a predator hearing this would likely think twice about going further!
Interesting if is actual mimicry (albeit genetically built in)
and again from Paul:
I think in the heat of the moment when both parties get a fright the sound they make can be made and interpreted in a wider range of ways, but they really can growl well at you – we know from working with the captive ones here at KFBG. If you upset of frighten them , push them in a corner they will really vocalize and let you know,