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SIGHTING: Black big cat caught on video near Holywell spotted again

Glan-yr-Afon puma

Another sighting of a ‘large, black cat’ has been reported, just a few fields away from the location where one was caught on video earlier this month.

Terry and his wife were walking along the lane from Glan-yr-Afon to Llanasa when they heard the animal rustling in the woodland to their left. They were then both able to see the creature ‘quickly’ getting away from them and think it could be the same big cat that others have seen nearby.

Their encounter took place on Saturday 13th February, just days before a ‘massive’ black cat was caught on video on Wednesday 17th February. Both sightings took place at around 2:30 pm.

The distance between the sightings is well under a mile. Terry told us: “My wife and I were on one of our usual walks and we believe we may have seen a large black cat.

“We heard a rustling noise in the woodland to the left of us, we both looked and saw the backend of a large black animal moving quickly away from us, it was about the size of a sheepdog.

“We were walking up the road out of Glanyrafon heading towards Llanasa, we both think it could have been the large black cat that other people have reported seeing in the area.”

Days later, Trelogan resident Jonathan filmed an animal matching that description from his kitchen window, which he said was at least the size of a sheep and possibly even bigger.

When reporting the sighting via our website, Jonathan said: “Seen out of the corner of my eye through the kitchen window overlooking the fields behind the house.

“Filmed as I have been reading about these sightings and it looked far too big to be a regular cat and was more like the size of a sheep or possibly bigger.”

In the video, the witnesses can be heard in awe at the encounter, saying “that’s massive”, “well it is massive ’cause obviously you can see it from here” and “it’s stalking something innit.”

The location is within two miles of recent sightings in Talacre and Whitford. Other sightings and incidents reported in the vicinity include those at WhitfordAbakhan and Pentre Halkyn.

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 over the last year is encouraging big cats to roam further from the hills into more populated areas.

Earlier this 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.

The general terrain of Flintshire’s hills above the River Dee

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.

Earlier this month, Bellingcat exposed an international exotic pet trafficking operation, in which Instagram celebrities posted videos with animals including monkeys, sloths and a range of big cats, including baby tigers, cheetahs, lions and pumas. The animals were sold to buyers around the world from a base in Dubai.

Also this month, a London man was fined after neighbours spotted he was keeping an African wildcat at his home. He purchased the animal from an unlicensed Russian company. The man had previously been reported to authorities but had told them he didn’t own the animal before eventually being caught red-handed.

It’s likely that many illegal owners in similar situations would release such animals into the British countryside. This prevalent underground trade, now fuelled by Instagram and social media, could be big a big part of explaining why so many big cat sightings are now being reported.

Image credits:
Glan-yr-Afon lane by Google Maps
Black cat image by Steve Wilson under CC-BY-2.0.

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