EVIDENCE of big cats in North Wales have been submitted to a group convinced such animals are at large in our countryside.

In the latest reports to Puma Watch North Wales, witnesses have spoken of their encounters in Corwen and Whitford, near Holywell.

In the Corwen incident, a woman says she came within 30 yards of a large black car that spat and snarled at her on November 27.

The witness said: "I spotted a very large black cat with an unusual swagger whilst sitting in my vehicle. I got out to walk closer, trying to be quiet so as not to spook the animal but when I got about 30 yards away, it started snarling and spitting. It spooked me.

"I walked away backwards."

In another encounter reported to Puma Watch North Wales, a man says he found the body of a carcass that had been killed and partially eaten by a mystery beast.

Speaking about the find made on November 2, the witness reported: I didn’t actually see a big cat but I found a badger which had been killed overnight and whatever killed it ate it with exception of its head and feet which were untouched. The rest had gone completely leaving just the virtually immaculately clean bones. The whole rib cage had even been ate back to the spine.

He added: "Some 12 months earlier a stray sheep was found in the same area. The farmer was informed but he didn’t retrieve his animal that night. The next morning the sheep was largely gone, killed and I’d say 40-50%

eaten by 7am.

"I have no idea at all about the behaviour of animals in the wild but, after working outdoors for 20 years, I’ve never experienced animal being killed and devoured so quickly. I was amazed when I found both to be

honest as to what could do that in such a short space of time."

The reports are the latest in a spate of such reports, with witnesses claiming to have seen evidence of big cats or the creatures themselves.

In October and November this year, sightings were reported in Pentre Halkyn, Pontybodkin, Abergele, and Snowdonia.

A spokesman for Puma Watch North Wales said: "Big cat sightings are frequent in North Wales, although we've noticed a bit of a drop off in the last three or four years, there would usually be a sighting reported in the local media at least every dozen weeks before that. Most sightings go unreported, especially when people are unsure about what they've seen, but to get some idea of the scale, back in 2006 BBC research noted over 100 sightings in Mid and North Wales over an 18-month period.

"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.

"Some will immediately dismiss any reports in the media, but particularly after some of the closer encounters reported, there's no way someone could just have seen a loose dog or domestic cat."

He added: "They could also pose a risk to small children and pets and some local farmers believe they have been killing the badgers on their land. We believe many of the attacks on livestock blamed on out-of-control pet dogs are actually the work of predators roaming wild, though we acknowledge the threat posed by dogs should not be minimised and that they are still the likely perpetrators in most cases."