BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Saturday, 26 August, 2000, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Hunt still on for 'panther' attacker

Josh Hopkins was attacked by a big black cat
Police are warning the public to be extra vigilant after what's thought to be a young black panther attacked an 11-year-old in Monmouthshire.

A helicopter carrying a heat-seeking camera mounted a search over the Wye Valley after the animal took a swipe at Josh Hopkins as he played with his brother near his home at Trellech.

The attack on Wednesday left Joshua with five long claw marks on his face which needed medical treatment.

The animal has not been found and Gwent police are warning people to be on the look out for the animal and to report any sightings immediately.

"At the start I thought it was playing, but when it struck its paw at me and I saw the blood fly past, I thought I was going to die," said Josh.

Black tail

He came across the animal after following a black tail, which he thought belonged to his cat, into the grass.

"I saw a big black tail and thought it was Sylvester, but then it jumped up and slashed me in the face and try to pull my head into his mouth, " Josh explained.

A spokesman for Gwent police said: "At this time we would urge members of the public to be extra vigilant and report any sightings to the police immediately.

Local zoos have been contacted to check whether any animals of the same type have gone missing.

Big cat expert Danny Nineham, who is helping the police investigation, said he believed the cat was a five foot long juvenile leopard-like animal.

"They are extremely dangerous if approached but if people leave them alone they will leave you alone," he said.

Big cat experts believe there may be as many as 100 leopards and pumas roaming the British countryside.

They believe the animals are the offspring of beasts released by owners in the 1970s after the introduction of stringent new laws governing wild and dangerous animals.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

25 Aug 00 | Wales
Police 'big cat' warning
27 Sep 98 | UK
Home Counties puma alert
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories