A ‘big cat’ has been reported in the village of Ashley, near Manchester Airport. A resident reported seeing a ‘dark, shadowy animal’ as he made his way to the pub.
Resident Cassy initially thought the animal she saw might be her neighbour’s, until she encountered the same neighbor with the dog. The neighbor told Cassy that she had also seen the “black cat” and that the dog was “petrified” to go to the end of the garden.
Cassy told Puma Watch North Wales: ‘We were walking towards the pub and in the bushes adjoining our farmhouse and adjoining property we saw a dark, shadowy animal that was about the size of my neighbour’s golden Labrador . I rejected it as the dog even though the color was different.
READ: UK government reacts to puma sightings
“When I got to my neighbor’s door, I saw her with her dog in the garden and said I thought I had just seen her dog in the bushes, so I was surprised to see him. See you so soon in the garden. She said her dog hadn’t left her side.
“My sister I was walking with then said she had seen it too and it was a black cat. I said that’s what I thought but dismissed it.
“My neighbor said she also thought she saw a black cat and her dog was petrified to go to the bottom of their garden. We concluded it was a mysterious black cat that we would be more vigilant for catch by camera.
Cheshire cougar sightings
In 2021, as many as 20 sightings of a ‘big cat‘ or ‘puma’ were reported to Puma Watch North Wales from the Cheshire region. These sightings included images of a suspected mountain lion stalking across fields in Frodsham, a big cat in the meadows of Chester and another pouncing in front of a car at Tarvin roundabout.
The UK government last month set out the steps it is taking to investigate such reports, after the Welsh government announced reports of big wild cats are “taken seriously and investigated thorough”.
A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), said: “If Natural England (NE) received credible information suggesting there was a big cat living in wild and posing a threat to agriculture (such as livestock predation), it would work with Defra to take appropriate action. Evidence would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Natural England would analyze all evidence presented to it, to first internally, and would seek external expert advice when needed.
“Similarly, if NE received credible information suggesting there was a big cat living in the wild and posing a threat to public health and safety, it would report the matter to local law enforcement. Rare cases of escapees, such as a Lynx from Dartmoor Zoo in July 2016, tend to involve local authorities as the escape is likely due to a breach of the zoo’s license or license to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 of the keeper.
“In all of the cases reported to Natural England in recent years, no credible evidence has been provided which would warrant action by Defra/Home Office/police.”
In January the Welsh Government confirmed it would visit the scene of reported sightings and take action such as taking casts or paw prints, analyzing images and taking animal carcasses away for post-mortem examinations .
Puma Watch North Wales explained why such animals may have been roaming the British countryside: “When big cats were banned as pets in the 1970s, it was legal to release them into the countryside to avoid a charge of expensive relocation. The UK has traveled to areas like Wales to release its cats into a remote environment, where small but significant populations have since flourished.
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