Update! Big Cat Sightings in Ireland? Puma or some other big cat?

Big cats loose in the Irish countryside!

*ABC=Alien Big Cat, i.e. out of place animal.
Scroll down for later reports.
From Tuesday 12th August:

Big cat thought to be puma
The animal is thought to be a young female puma
Pawprints found in the north coast area of Northern Ireland were probably made by a member of the mountain lion family, the USPCA has said.
More from BBC>>

Puma hunt moves to Portrush
Fresh paw prints are discovered close to Portrush
12 August 2003
Police patrol the beach at Portrush on the lookout for the big cat
THE hunt for the north coast’s missing big cat has moved to Portrush after fresh paw prints were discovered by a landowner in a field outside the resort.
More from Belfast Telegraph

Ananova: ‘Puma’ spotted on Antrim coast

A puma has been spotted on the loose on the north Antrim coast.
Police officers and members of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are searching the area.

Irish News: Big cat may have gone to ground
THE big cat that has been prowling around north Antrim may never be seen again, according to the USPCA.
The animal ‘believed to be a young female puma’ has been on the loose since Thursday, since when there have been up to 20 sightings.
Police believe it may have escaped from a private collection and officers were last night analysing paw prints found outside Portrush.
USPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott said there were no sightings of the animal yesterday ‘ for the first time in four days.
‘We’re a bit concerned. The last two sightings came on Monday in the Portrush/Bushmills area, with descriptions of a big cat, the size of an Alsatian but twice as broad, powerfully built and dark tan in colour,’ he said.
‘I can’t say it will never pose a threat to anyone, but they’re more afraid of people and only come out at night. I don’t think we’ll ever get it. It’s very unlikely.’


Kill the pig but ‘be careful’ with the puma

The ongoing hunt for the elusive Vietnamese pot-bellied pig that has been attacking livestock for the past few months took a new turn yesterday.
A private investigator has warned that he will shoot the animal, while a local dog warden has said he believes it can be caught alive.
Private investigator Sean McGovern said that all the advantages rested with the pot-bellied pig. “He decides where he goes, where he eats, when he eats,” he explained.
Mr McGovern has hunted wild boar in the past and said that, if he gets the pig within his sights, he plans to shoot it.
However, Clare ISPCA dog warden, Frankie Coote, who has been trying to capture the pig, dissociated himself from any move to shoot the animal and said that a pet farm in Co Kerry had offered to take the pig.

Other Irish big cat reports:

Furry Cat Stories
‘However, this is not to say that we are totally bereft of *rural* reports. Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels reported claims of a lynx in Co. Cork in Fortean Times 34:20, and FT101:24 showed a picture of an African caracal lynx shot by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in Fintona, Co. Tyrone on February 17th 1997. Other sightings are listed below. And while more ungulate than feline, that damned Wexford antelope is worth a mention. ‘
ABC In Belfast
‘In a 27th September article by Martin Breen, it was reported that a ‘puma-like animal’ was on the loose in the outskirts of Belfast, and the police had been warning people to stay away from it. Sightings had taken place around a quarry on the Ballygowan Road at 5:50pm on the 26th, and again at 10:45 in a children’s play area in Ballygowan village, six miles from the earlier sighting. Subsequent police searches had been fruitless. ‘
The SAS, Aliens and Big Cats
he Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has rescued dozens of animals which were being badly treated and kept in confined spaces. In one seizure alone, in 1995, two baboons, a pair of breeding tigers with a cub suffering from rickets, and a Canadian black bear were taken from a ‘large’ house in Co. Limerick. Last year during a ‘routine’ drugs raid in a Dublin suburb, a jaguar and a serval were found in the garage of the house being raided. At Christmas, in Swords in North Dublin, a tiger cub was rescued and sent to a sanctuary in the USA. Apparently one can purchase a lynx for about IR500 pounds and cougars for less, at IR300-IR400.
UPDATE: August 14th
Wild pig cull must be legal, gardai tell gung-ho hunters
THE race is on to trap a nuisance wild pig dead or alive but gardai have warned gung-ho hunters they will not tolerate illegal efforts to track it down.
UPDATE: August 22nd 2003
From the Irish Independent:
A farmer yesterday said he fears young children may be injured after he found his 70kg pedigree ram dead on his farm in what is thought to have been an attack by a big cat.
There were large bite marks in the ram’s side, and over a kilo of meat had been taken from the animal. Bushmills, Co Antrim farmer Robert Calvin did not believe dogs had attacked the ram as none of the other sheep in his field had been touched. It is thought the attack may be linked to reports of a female puma spotted in the area earlier in the week.

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UPDATE: August 26th 2003
According to Irish News:
‘A second sheep was found dead close to Ballycastle on Saturday and
police confirmed that neither a dog nor fox had killed the animal.’
‘…a woman spotted a wild animal in fields close to her
Ballymoney home and two police officers later saw it crossing a
country road.’
‘It was the officers’ description which prompted police to state that
it is a panther.’
‘Mr Philpott said the USPCA is aware of six tigers, five lions, three
wolves, a leopard and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs which have either
escaped or been released by their owners in Northern Ireland.’

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Update: August 29th 2003:
BBC News: Wild cat on loose ‘is puma’
Animal charity the USPCA has said it is convinced the big cat on the loose in north Antrim is a puma.
In the latest sighting, the cat was spotted on Thursday night chasing a large flock of sheep into the corner of a field.

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Update: September 23 2003:
Irish News: Game hunters called in to flush out big cat
BIG game hunters will be prowling north Antrim from dawn ?til dusk tomorrow in an effort to finally track down Northern Ireland?s most famous moggy. The Big Cat of Antrim ­ believed to be an escaped puma from a private collection ­ was first sighted roaming the countryside more than a month ago. There have been several sightings since then, along with several sheep kills which have been linked to the animal.

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Update: September 24 2003:
Irish Independent: Animal welfare and PSNI search for wild cat
The net is closing in on a big cat running wild on Antrim’s north coast. Police and animal welfare chiefs have narrowed the 150 square mile search down to a wooded area near the village of Ballybogey, outside Portrush. The big cat – thought to be either a puma or a panther – has been blamed for mauling several sheep after being set loose by a rogue owner who faces prosecution once it is caught.
more >>
Update: September 24 2003:
BBC: Search for big cat narrows
The search for a big cat has been narrowed down to a wooded area in County Antrim.
A day-long operation involving police officers and the USPCA got under way on Wednesday in the Portrush, Bushmills and Ballycastle areas, where sightings of the animal had been reported.
A helicopter and police air support unit was also involved in the dawn till dusk operation to try to catch or kill the animal, thought to be a puma.

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Update: September 25 2003:
BBC: Happy end unlikely for operation big cat

The story of “operation big cat” is unlikely to have a happy ending.
Search teams are trying to find the black panther on the loose in north Antrim – but they realise they have more chance of killing it, than catching it.

Police Chief Inspector Mark Mason says: “It is like trying to find a needle in
a haystack – except this needle has four legs and it’s not afraid to use them.” [eh? – daev]

much more >>
Update: October 1st 2003:
Belfast Telegraph: New wild cat alert

Bigger than a collie and moved like hunter: Doctor
This dramatic picture, taken in the Mourne mountians by a Dublin doctor, provides strong evidience that a third wild cat is prowling the ulster countryside. This is the dramatic picture which provides the strongest evidence yet that another puma-like cat is on the prowl in Northern Ireland – this time in the heart of the Co Down countryside.
The picture, which appears to show a large black puma-like cat prowling in a field, was taken by a Dublin-based doctor who described the animal as “bigger than a collie”.

more including photo >>
Official Website of he British Big Cats Society
The British Big Cats Society was set up to scientifically identify, quantify, catalogue and protect the Big Cats that freely roam the British countryside.
More >>
Update: November 19th 2003:
BBC NI: Big cat concerns continue

They roamed the north coast earlier this year, terrorising livestock and frustrating the farming community, but Northern Ireland’s ‘Big Cats’ have yet to be captured.
However, one north Antrim council is pressing for an update on the search for what is believed to be two separate animals.
On a wintry evening near Bushmills farmer Victor Chestnutt is trying to make sure his pedigree sheep don’t scatter across the field.

more >>
(Interestingly, Vic Chestnutt is also the name of a well-known singer!)
Official Website of he British Big Cats Society
The British Big Cats Society was set up to scientifically identify, quantify, catalogue and protect the Big Cats that freely roam the British countryside.
More »
Update: November 19th 2003:
Ananova:A Scottish farmer has spray painted her sheep in a bid to deter big cat attacks.
Charlotte Brayley made patterned stencils and then used red, green and purple paint on six of her animals.
Striped camouflage, like that of a zebra, is said to confuse cats because the contrasting bold stripes break up the animal’s shape.
More »
BBC:A farmer has painted zebra-style stripes on her sheep to camouflage them after rumours of a black panther on the loose.
Charlotte Brayley, from Ayrshire, spray-painted her flock through cardboard stencils after reading about the recent sightings.
More »
Update: January 9th 2004:
Welsh assembly calls in big cat expert »
Update: February 16th 2004:
Scottish Big Cats/Big Cat Research Group UK »
Irish Independent March 2nd 2002: Search on for creature with fangs and claws:

    It?s wild, with claws and fangs. And it is believed to be roaming the countryside around North Tipperary. This is not your ordinary tabby. No, its bigger, with a striped bushy tail, and it?s not supposed to be a native of this country at all. The search for the wildcat started after Sandra Garvey, who lives in the area, spotted an animal she had never seen before when out driving one night just over two weeks ago. Ms Garvey, who lives in the townland of Knockfune, told The Guardian: “I nearly drove off the road I was so shocked. I saw this thing and what was striking about it was its tail. I saw nothing like it before…It was larger than your ordinary moggie.”

More »
Update: February 19th 2004:

Alien Big Cat report from Co. Kildare, Ireland »

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.


  1. Dont be so lazy as to just shooting the cat,the cat is just doing whats in her nature,she doesnt no any better . Its the owner thats at fault ,there are lots of ways to catch her if ye put your minds to it ,e.g. ” TRANQUILLIZER GUN ” Dont be like the Americans and use the easy way out of a PREGNANT rino on the lose on there main streets about 2 years ago which they just shoot her dead.Im not been nieve in thinking that this cat is not a danger to us , but just think of the animals for once , they are as much part of this world as we are !!!!
    Thankyou for taking the time to read my letter.

  2. Jesus, we’re not talking about shooting anything. It’s the authorities in Northern Ireland that are doing so.

  3. One of the people who seen the cat last year was heard to say “although it was 25 yards away, I could just make out some of the letters on the tag on it’s ear. U.S.P. something” !!

  4. I have a frend who sed he saw a panther or puma he said it looked like a very large dogbut with a blck cat body in the comeragh wood killsheelin co.tipp

  5. Some guy is after ringing in to thr radio called John. Didn’t cath where he lives but he says he saw it up close and it looks like a young one. I walked right past the front of his car the chased afther a rabbit. So it seems now that there must be more than one.

  6. Spotted in Cashell, Connemara. sat 14th feb 2009, large black cat, first appearance looked the size a sheepdog but realised by the way its walked that it was a large cat.it will be interesting to hear if there were any sheep taken in the area around the time, or even any other sightings.

  7. My two sisters spotted a large black cat around March 2008, as they were walking through Kilcooly woods, Tipperary, just east of Urlingford county Kilkenny. It just crossed the path a few metres in front of them. KIllcooly is a large walled forrested estate with lots of deer.

  8. a puma ate my 3 year old dog wen we wer wakin in the woods i shot the puma after i found the dog dead. i got the b*****d right between the eys the f****r didnt stand a chance

  9. Not sure if this thread is even active but i just wanted to see if anyone has any reports of large cats in the galway/loughrea area?

  10. Sighting of an all black or dark dark brown cat noticeably bigger than any house cat. Location: Between Tahilla and Sneem, Co. Kerry.

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