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SIGHTING: Blacon high rise resident spots big cat at sunset

blacon flats lion

A resident of the high-rise flats in Blacon has reported spotting a brown or tawny big cat in a field close to the River Dee, while watching a sunset from their window back in January 2020.

Graham told Puma Watch: “I had recently moved into my highrise property and was sat in the window enjoying the views of the sun setting behind Snowdon. The elevated views are incredible but also allow you to see further and more.

“As I was looking over I saw what I thought was a labrador strolling in and out of the hedgerow towards the back end of the field closer to the river. Then It stood still for me to notice its stance which was more feline. Its head was low to its back not upright. Its tail was long and didn’t wag the movement was all wrong for a dog.

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“I’ve been reluctant to tell anyone of this for fear of ridicule until I recently came across articles mentioning big cat sightings on Chester Meadows which is only around 2 miles away. I always put it down to my mind filling the blanks so to speak. But I swear what I saw was not a dog.

“I didn’t think to grab my phone I was just so dumbfounded at the possibility of what I thought I’d witnessed. I’m very often in the same place looking in the same direction but never seeing anything.”

Other sightings have been reported much closer to Blacon itself, most recently near the Texaco petrol station on Sealand Road around 12:30am on the morning of Saturday 18th June. The animal ran into fields on the Blacon side of the road, next to Dandy’s Topsoil and close to previous encounters on the Sealand Road retail parks, at Chester FC’s Deva Stadium, and in Blacon itself.

Any further sightings can be reported to us via this form.

Graham’s sighting has been added to our interactive map

Chester has become a hotspot for big cat sightings, with multiple clusters occurring over the last year. This includes one occasion where an animal was caught on camera on Chester Meadows by a delivery driver.

Last year, we shared a report of another motorist spotting a suspected panther stalking sheep, just a few miles away near the M56’s Chester Services. Additionally, a lorry driver spotted a big cat crossing the same road behind Costco Chester.

Big cats have also been spotted across the Wirral.

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Big cats such as pumas are solitary with a hunting range of dozens of miles. They’re mostly spotted in Snowdonia and the Clwydian hills but reports of sightings in urban locations some distance from these areas are becoming more frequent.

As seen with Llandundo’s now-famous goats, who have taken to roaming the town’s deserted streets during the coronavirus lockdowns, it’s likely that the reduced levels of human activity during the pandemic encouraged big cats to roam further from the hills into more populated areas. Despite human activity returning to near pre-pandemic levels, it seems many big cats are now happy to stay in their new territory.

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When big cats were banned as pets in the 1970s, it was legal to release them into the countryside to avoid expensive rehoming costs. Owners from across the UK travelled to areas like Wales to release their cats in the remote environment, where small but significant populations have thrived ever since.

Last year, the Welsh Government responded to the recent spate of sightings and confirmed the steps they take to investigate any reported to them, including taking casts of paw prints.

A visitor to a Snowdonia animal rescue centre back in 1994 recently claimed he was introduced to four puma kittens. He said: “I strongly suspect that these were released into the wild as they had no paperwork and no money to feed or house them.

“They certainly weren’t there six months later.”

Any further sightings can be reported to us via this form.

Warrington Panther
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Images by:
Tambako / CC BY-ND 2.0
Dunnock_D / CC BY-NC 2.0

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