A man has reported that he and his nine-year-old son had to abandon their barbecue when they encountered a big cat
He described the creature they saw as a brown or tan cougar while setting up a barbecue on Pwllheli beach.
Their meeting took place near Gimblet Rock, Pwllheli, around 7 p.m. on Thursday May 12.
The father was forced to make noise to scare the animal away, before immediately leaving the beach in such haste that they had to abandon their barbecue.
Jimmy Butler told Puma Watch North Wales: “Me and my nine-year-old son were about to fire up a little barbecue and spend a few hours stargazing. My boy grabbed me and said ‘what is this? is it a dog?’
“When I looked, I first thought ‘yes’, but I quickly realized that was not the case. I panicked and made a little noise to which the cat quickly disappeared.
“We left immediately. Apologies for leaving the barbecue on the beach, but I wasn’t hanging around.
“We went back to the car and there was a local about to go fishing and I told him what happened and he said he had heard of 4 or 5 sightings of the same description over the past few weeks.
“A very surreal experience, I didn’t even think they were in this country!”
A cougar. also known as cougar, cougar or panther. is a large, brownish cat native to North and South America that is comparable in size to a jaguar.
Puma Watch founder Tony Jones says he thinks there could be a population of big cats in the area.
He said: ‘A visitor to an animal rescue center in Snowdonia in 1994 recently claimed he had been introduced to four puma kittens. He said: ‘I strongly suspect they were released into the wild for they had neither papers nor money to feed or lodge them.
‘They certainly weren’t there six months later.'”
Gimblet Rock is a rocky outcrop at the end of the town beach, also known as Carreg yr Imbill.
It comes just weeks after three friends reported a close encounter with a big cat at the same location.
Tony said: “The previous encounter on this beach happened around the same time, around 8pm on a Friday evening. After sharing the report of anglers spotting a ‘brown or fawn’ cougar at one end of the beach on Gimblet Rock, the sighting first made headlines in the North Wales Chronicle and was subsequently reported by other publications including the Daily Post, The Sun and ITV News.
Witnesses added that they thought what they saw might have been a mountain lion.
Paul Wilson, Paul Owen and Patrick Owen spotted the “brown or fawn” animal as they parked their cars at Gimblet Rock on Friday March 18.
READ MORE: Three more encounters with the ‘big black cat‘ in Prestatyn and Dyserth
Paul Wilson said: “Me and two friends were out fishing at night.
“We had just parked our cars when we noticed what at first appeared to be a medium to large sized dog, sitting upright, staring at us from about 20 yards away.
“He was sitting amongst the dune grass which was on a slope away from us. I walked a few meters towards him while my friend turned on his headlights to give him more light.
“We then all realized it was not a dog but a very big cat who then got up and turned away and walked away from us turning his head to look back at us once.
“We never saw him again. The cat was as big as a golden retriever.”
Mr Jones says the latest sightings have been added to the group’s interactive map.
He said: “This is the first sighting reported to us from the Llyn Peninsula, although we have had several reports of mountain lions in sand dunes elsewhere in North Wales.
“More recently, a black panther was spotted hunting rabbits and birds in the dunes at Prestatyn beach. In September 2021, an animal matching the same description was spotted on the golf course adjacent to the Rhyl Beach.”