THERE has been a big cat sighting near to the I'm a Celebrity Castle.

Chloe Green submitted a photograph of the creature she saw as she was walking in Coed Y Gopa woods near Gwrych Castle, Abergle.

She said she hear a rustling noise in the trees before a big black shape jump down ahead of her and her boyfriend at about 10pm at night.

Although visibility was poor, she managed to capture an image of the creature, which she believes is a puma or a panther, on her phone.

She submitted the photograph and her account of her experience, which took place in October this year, to the Puma Watch North Wales website.

The Leader:

The photograph taken by Chloe Green in Abergele

Chloe said: “I was walking the dog with my boyfriend who lives in Abergele, up in the woods and we heard some rustling in the leaves coming down a hill on the left that stopped in the bushes not far from where I was. I thought that it must be a dog at first that ventured a bit far down from it’s owner.

“It was pouring with rain, and about 10pm at this point, and I was using my phone as a torch but trying to not get it wet so visibility wasn’t very good. So anyway, I was leaning forward a bit and was beckoning whatever it was and hitting my legs, like how you’d get a dog to come to you, as my dog had noticed and was whining.

“To my surprise a big black shape moved in the bushes. I didn’t even notice it was there till it moved, almost like it had frozen but then it turned around and looked at me, still standing really still. I was a bit in shock to be honest I didn’t really know what to do. It looked smaller than the big cats that I’ve seen at the zoo, but much much bigger than a house cat but it looked to me to be very feline.

“I got a picture of it in the bushes and turning away as I didn’t feel threatened by it but I was really shocked, and it ran back up the hill as I beckoned my partner over. I showed him the photo and he was just as shocked as me.

The Leader:

Where the sighting took place. Image: Google Maps/Puma Watch North Wales

Chloe was prompted to contact Puma Watch after reading about a similar sightings in Pontybodkin and Snowdonia last month.

In the Pontybodkin sighting, Toby Matthews, a hypnotherapist living in Caergwrle, was walking his dog when the beam from his torch caught the shape of a "big cat" ahead of him.

The Leader:

Footage taken by Toby Matthews

Toby says he saw the creature on the old railway line through the Wood Pit Nature Reserve between Pontybodkin and Llanfynydd, which is in the middle of a dense wooded valley.

Then, Toby said: “I’m convinced that it was a puma, it was about two or three times the size of my little Labrador. It was probably around the same size as some of the jaguars at the zoo, and I think it was completely black. I heard about big cats being spotted around Mold and Leeswood a few years ago, and we’re right next to Leeswood here. It’s a really deserted and rural area and I rarely pass anyone else on walks, there’s thick woodland either side of the path where animals can probably stay undisturbed for years."

Chloe added: “The article that I saw the other week with the video of the puma crossing the walkway online looks similar to what I saw in size and colour.

"I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about not reporting. I thought about reporting it to the police but I felt a bit stupid to be honest and I didn’t think that anybody would believe me.”

The video taken by Toby Matthews

A Puma Watch spokesman said there is increasing evidence to suggest there is a small population of bit cats in North Wales.

He told the Leader: "There are countless accounts of sightings shared by locals, both recent and historic. It seems it's common knowledge among many local communities that a small population of big cats such as pumas exist within North Wales.

"We believe most of those reporting sightings did indeed see pumas or cougars. Some people say they aren't sure and it could have been something more common, though we have a Twitter account with a small established following and from the sightings reported to us, it's clear many are seriously and genuinely concerned.

"When exotic pets were banned in the 1970’s, many owners released them into the wild. It was completely legal to do this for several years until another law was passed to close the loophole. Big cats are well suited to the Welsh climate and terrain and as it was important to keep them away from humans, big cat owners from across large areas of England may have travelled to Wales to release their beloved pet in what they thought would be a better environment for it to prosper.

"Small populations are reported in Snowdonia and in the Clwydian Hills, and with the solitary animals roaming a large territory, this could well be why so many sightings are reported in the villages below, such as Leeswood, Treuyddn and Pontybodkin."