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Puma safety

Never approach a big cat to take a photo

The species of big cat known to inhabit North Wales are reclusive, solitary animals which avoid human contact. Provided you don’t deliberately approach or follow one, it’s very unlikely to show any aggression and will likely disappear into safety before you reach any close distance.

If you’re planning to visit an area where pumas or other big cats are known to live, such as parts of Snowdonia, the Clwydian range or even Wepre Park, following these tips will minimise your chances of a frightening encounter with a big cat:

  • Stick to wide, established paths to reduce the chance of an inadvertent ambush
  • Keep small children under close supervision
  • Keep your dog on a short lead and don’t allow it to roam through the undergrowth
  • Avoid walking or hiking alone, especially during dawn, twilight and night time
  • Carry a (charged) mobile phone and ideally a torch
  • Make loud noises as you walk so animals know your approaching and can find safety
  • Consider carrying an air horn or whistle for emergencies

However, should you accidentally corner a big cat, it’s important to make sure your actions don’t make the situation worse. These tips should help you handle such a situation:

  • Absolutely do not run and avoid sudden movement. You could either scare the animal or trigger a predatory reflex
  • Pick up small children and pets
  • Stay close to others
  • Back away slowly and calmly while keeping sight of the animal
  • Report the sighting to Puma Watch and remember to inform the police if you feel there is any danger

Social distancing is important, even outdoors, however, should you encounter a hostile big cat you should group together with anyone nearby, even if they’re outside your household bubble, until you have left the area.