A WOMAN in North Wales called the police after spotting a "black panther" sitting on her garden fence.

The incident happened back in July, but the woman recently reported the bizarre encounter to a group set up to investigate big cat sightings in North Wales.

The incident happened in Conwy - with the witness saying the animal they saw was 5ft long.

Puma Watch North Waes submitted a Freedom of Information request to police to find out more.

The incident log reads: “Informant states she saw a black panther on her fence on Saturday.

“Incident happened on Saturday – can be closed and tagged for the Rural Crime Team.”

North Wales Police added that a member of the Rural Crime Team spoke to the witness. As the creature had been seen only once - and there was no photographic or other physical evidence - the incident was closed.

Followers of Puma Watch on social media questioned whether a garden fence could support the weight of a fully-grown panther.

But the group's founder Tony Jones says there is increasing evidence for a small population of big cats living in the wild in North Wales.


Big cat sightings near Conwy.

'Big cat' sightings near Conwy.


He said: "Last year, police investigated reports of a “black panther with a head the size of a dinner plate” near Chirk. More recently and much closer to Conwy, a “big black cat” spooked a Pentrefelin resident’s two domestic cats.

"A 'massive black cat' has also been spotted on the Little Orme this summer.

"Big cats have recently been spotted a few miles away in Abergele while back in 2012 a black panther was reported to police in Llandudno.

"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."

Although some dismiss the notion, the Welsh Government does investigate reports.

Earlier this year, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales Lesley Griffiths said no conclusive evidence of big cats in Wales had been found as yet but that reports made to the Department for Economy, Skills and Natural Resources are investigated.

Once evidence gathering is complete, officials consult with a multitude of experts, including researchers at zoos and universities.

She said: “The Welsh Government’s policy is to investigate any reports received by the Department for Economy, Skills and Natural Resources of alleged sightings and attacks by big cats on livestock in Wales.”

“Alleged sightings reported to the Welsh Government are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly. If hard evidence is provided, my officials from the Wildlife Team carry out site visits, collect livestock carcasses for post mortem, assess video footage, take casts of paw prints and investigate any other evidence indicating the possible presence of big cats.”