Pumas on the loose in Wales, investigators say after sheep killed with single bite | UK | News (Reports)

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A few weeks ago, Frank Tunbridge, 73, says that he was called by a Snowdonia farmer after several of his sheep were killed. Having examined the “very clinical” nature of the attack – each sheep had a single bite mark around the neck, he claims.

Mr Tunbridge believes that a puma, or possibly two were responsible for the act.

“Over the past couple of years, there hasn’t been a great deal of sightings in North Wales. But in recent months, there’s been a number of big cat sightings recorded in the area.

“The sheep killings were very clinical and suggest the presence of pumas or some kind of puma-hybrid in the area.

“It was an act of surplus killing which is what happens when a predator is faced with prey that has nowhere to escape. It’s a behaviour more commonly exhibited by foxes,” he said.

As well as the sheep killings, the big cat expert says that he has seen scratch marks on trees that “at five or six feet high, could not have been done by any animal other than a big cat.”

The reason, he says, why there have been more sightings in recent months is twofold: “Firstly, winter is their mating season and they tend to throw more caution to the wind during this period.

“And secondly, the landscape is more bare at this time of year. There is less foliage which means less cover – and cover is everything for these elusive animals.”

During the mating season, pumas tend to stick together which is why – along with the numerous reports of sightings he has received – Mr Tunbridge believes that the area is being patrolled by two of the big cats.

Pumas occupy territories of around 100 square miles, Mr Tunbridge says, which explains how they could be seen in Snowdonia back in October and Talacre in Flintshire on New Year’s Eve.

Though Mr Tunbridge says that it is his belief that these animals are present in North Wales, there has been no bona fide evidence of their presence so far, and as such the big cat expert asserts that he “does not know for a fact that they are here.”

However, the 73-year-old did have some thoughts on why there have been no clear footage of the animals in the area to date.

“They’re so secretive and elusive, even in their native countries,” he said.

“In North America, they’re referred to as the ‘Grey Ghost’ by Native Americans due to their powers of concealment.

“Given that they’re such large predators and are not native to these isles, I think you’d need an extraordinary presence of mind to be able to get out your phone and take a picture if you were to see one in the flesh [but] there’s no substitute for observation.”

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