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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 07:13 GMT
Cyclist's meeting with 'big cat'
black panther
There have been several sightings of black cats in west Wales
A cyclist has claimed he saw a "big cat" in an area of west Wales which has become notorious for sightings of unidentified large felines.

Dixie Tilley, from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, was cycling along roads near the town when he saw what looked like a black panther.

He said he got within 40 yards of the animal and got a good look at it before it disappeared under a fence.

In the past, the Welsh assembly government has investigated sightings.

Mr Tilley told BBC Radio Wales he was cycling along a bike track when he saw the animal coming towards him.

"I though, oh that's a big dog. I was cycling quite quietly, then it saw me and went under the fence. It sort of loped across the field and I thought, that's not a dog," he said.

"I could see by the shape of its tail. We've got a cat at home and it's just like it, only this is 20, 30 times bigger. But it seemed to cover lots of ground, then it sort of disappeared."

'Shiny'

He saw some people a few minutes later and mentioned it to them. They told him there had been one spotted about a year earlier in the area.

"It was jet black and it was really, really shiny. It was bigger than an Alsatian but longer.

"If you see a cat, their back is flat and their head is low. A dog is more upright and a tail is swishing.

"I don't know much about them really. I've seen these stories in the paper and I've always taken it with a pinch of salt really, but having seen it, it's wonderful.

"It was out of the blue - a minute, minute and a half and it was gone. It would be nice to see it again."

The "big cat"
This video captured a 'big cat' on camera

In September, a family captured a black cat-like creature on film creeping through undergrowth near Welshpool.

A Welsh Assembly Government investigation concluded that the animal was just a domestic pet, but big cat experts were keeping an open mind.

Fears of wild big cats such as pumas and panthers roaming mid and west Wales have circulated since the 1970s, including sightings of the so-called "Beast of Bont" in north Ceredigion.

A expert was called in to investigate a suspected big cat attack on a Welsh lamb at Talsarn, near Lampeter.

Officials also spent time investigating an alleged attack at a farm in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, in January 2003, after a dog was killed.

However, in that case, tests showed the attacker was another dog, although the breed could not be established.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Cat video footage
Video footage of the mystery cat



SEE ALSO:
Armed stake-out for big cats
07 Jan 03 |  Wales


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