Big cats: Large 'paw print' among cluster of puma sightings in Snowdonia

A possible paw print is among a recent spike in potential sightings of big cats. Credit: Media Wales

A group set up to investigate big cat sightings has reported a recent cluster in the Snowdonia National Park.

Since April, three walkers claim to have seen large cat-like animals in the region while a fourth came across what they believe is a “massive” paw print.

One sighting was on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) itself, while another was nearby.

Other reports were made further north, towards Bethesda, and further south, near Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The most recent sighting was in the early hours of July 25 as Stephanie Robinson was climbing the Pyg Track to catch the sunrise on Wales' highest peak.

En route she said she encountered what she described as a “brown or tawny big cat”.

Stephanie reported what she had seen to Puma Watch North Wales (PWNW).

"As I was hiking up Snowdon with only a head torch, I heard a loud, aggressive growl come from a cave/sheltered area,” she said.

"I remained silent and turned off my head torch as I didn’t want to attract the wild animal that lay before me."

It’s not the first time someone has apparently come across a big cat on this part of the mountain.

PWNW keep records of the sightings across the north of the country. Credit: PWNW

In October 2020, Jacques Wood from Leeds also made a pre-sunrise solo trek along the Pyg Track to Crib Goch.

The animal he saw was described as being around 3.5 foot tall and four foot long.

More recently, on July 4, a sighting was made by a wild camper near Bethania, Blaenau Ffestiniog who described seeing a set of golden eyes reflected in his head torch.

NWPW has no other recorded sightings in the Blaenau Ffestiniog area. The nearest are in Beddgelert and involve a "tawny coloured puma" said to have been responsible for several livestock killings in the area.

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On Sunday, June 12, a man came across what he believed to be a pawprint at the top of the Cwm Pennant valley which he said was “massive and looked like a cat print”.

He’d set out from Rhyd-Ddu, a popular starting point for Yr Wyddfa, in the opposite direction towards Nantlle Ridge.

PWNW’s database of sightings suggests a large cluster in the Clwydian hills, with others in Snowdonia and along the north coast, including near Llandudno and Prestatyn.

Recent attention has been focussed on Pwllheli and the Llyn Peninsula.

One theory is that big cats released into the wild many years ago become emboldened to investigate urban areas.

Despite PWNW’s earnest efforts, and its large database of reports, many people remain sceptical – especially as photographic evidence has proved stubbornly elusive.