Big cats are roaming Britain but only in tiny numbers, an expert claims.
For decades people have claimed to have seen leopards, panthers and pumas all over Britain and the sightings have increased since lockdown in March 2020.
Puma Watch, a site designed to keep track of any mysterious events, has reported 54 sightings in North Wales in the last two years.
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Mike Potts, the head of BeastWatch UK, said: “There is no doubt that there have been big cats living in the UK, there has been evidence of this.
“But from what people are currently claiming, there would have to be three or four distinctly separate species in thriving populations living undetected in the UK.
“We have actively investigated some sightings where there have been numerous sightings, several witnesses and animal deaths which could indicate the presence of a big cat but none of these investigations have been conclusive.”
He added: “I am open-minded over the possibility of any individual animal being at large but the assumptions that there are thriving populations of leopards and mountain lions in the UK without any evidence is nonsense.
“Nature doesn’t happen like that, any out-of-place top predator would make its presence known.”
He said some big cats were “let loose into the wild after the Dangerous Wild Animals legislation came in”.
But he continued: “There was no tidal wave of thousands of exotic animals being released, there is no doubt that there were some, but maybe a few dozen.
“It is also worth considering that if these big cats have been kept in captivity for most of their lives, there is a question of whether or not they would even be able to survive in the wild.
“They would be looking for easy prey – including pets, children playing or elderly dog walkers – and we have no reports of this happening at all.”
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