Further ‘panther’ sightings spark hunt

There have been more sightings of the ‘wild cat’ which attacked a boy in Monmouthshire last week, say police.

A spokesman for the Gwent force said there have been several more reports of a “panther-like animal” in a week after 11-year-old Josh Hopkins said he was attacked.

Josh suffered facial injuries when playing in a field near his home, after spotting what he described as a “large cat with a long black tail”.

Officers have called in hunter Anthony Holloway from the Zimbabwean Wildlife Association to help track the cat.

Mr Holloway said Josh’s injuries were consistent with those caused by a juvenile wild cat and that he was looking for the creature in the area.

“We have identified several likely areas close to where the sightings have been and where Josh was attacked.

“That is where we will start. First we have to find out where the thing is lairing up in the day.

“Once we have identified that it is using that as a den, we will either dart it or trap it using a cage.”

Josh said he was swiped in the face by an animal which left five claw marks on his cheek.

‘Wild and dangerous’

Mr Holloway said it was “totally possible” that wild cats have survived in Wales for some time, and will continue to do so, because of the suitable terrain and forests.

He said there was no danger to humans unless the creature is provoked.

He urged anyone who sees a wild cat to contact the police.

Experts believe big cats in the UK are the offspring of beasts released by owners in the 1970s, after the introduction of stringent new laws governing wild and dangerous animals.