BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Wales  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Saturday, 11 January, 2003, 16:33 GMT
Tests on DNA after 'big cat' killing
A post mortem examination on a dog believed to have been killed by a panther-like animal in west Wales has confirmed that it was killed by a large predator.

Further tests have been ordered, as the examination proved inconclusive, and are expected to take another two weeks.

A puma
The animal was described as like a puma or panther

DNA samples will now be taken from hairs found in the whippet's mouth.

Tests were arranged by the Welsh Assembly's Wildlife Advisory Unit to determine what exactly killed the dog at Llangadog, near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police firearms experts were drafted in after the attack on Sunday evening.

The dog was seen being attacked by a large cat, and was then joined by what was thought to have been its cub.

Police issued a warning to farmers to be vigilant after Mike Shepherd, 62, came face to face with the big cat when looking for the missing whippet, which belonged to a neighbour.

Farmland sighting

He discovered the animal, with blood over its face, standing over the dog's lifeless form, then ran inside to alert police.

Another sighting was reported several days later. A milk tanker driver from Whitland, saw the animal in farmland at Ffairfach, near Llandeilo at around mid day on Thursday, a police spokesman said.

The scene of the latest sighting is between 10 and 12 miles south of Llangadog, where the killing took place.

The UK rural affairs ministry, Defra, said it was unlikely to launch an inquiry into the alleged sightings.

Breeding

It played down claims that escaped big cats may be breeding in the wild, arguing there was no evidence of a sizeable population.

Professor Alayne Street-Perrot, who travelled to the United States to study big cats after her horses were attacked six years ago, says the animals may be breeding in the wild.

"It's very difficult to see what can be done, in that the government has let the situation get this far," she said.

"A lot of these cats were released after the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976 and if the problem had been nipped in the bud then, we wouldn't have the problem we do now.

Caution advised

"Unless they are still being released, they must be breeding.

"In locations with a lot of wooded cover, where cats are being seen regularly, people do have to be careful."

A lorry driver reported another sighting last week near the Co-operative Creamery at Llangadog.

Armed police were called after the driver reported seeing the cat near vehicles at the creamery in the early hours of Wednesday.

The cat was not traced, but Dyfed-Powys Police have been viewing CCTV tapes from the area.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Prof Alayne Street-Perrot
"It sounds to me like a panther, which is a black leopard."

More from south west Wales
See also:

09 Jan 03 | Wales
07 Jan 03 | Wales
28 Aug 02 | UK
26 Mar 02 | Wales
05 Feb 00 | UK
26 Aug 00 | Wales
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes