Beast of Bont

Gareth Morgan, The Western Mail

THE LEGENDARY Beast of Bont has struck again by attacking livestock at night, according to a Mid Wales farmer.

A black, big cat-type creature savaged a lamb at a farm near Talgarreg, Lampeter, on Sunday, and was spotted again on Monday night by farmer Diane Marshall.

"It was dark but I saw two glowing eyes looking straight at me and knew it was not a dog," said Mrs Marshall, who lost one of her rare Torwen lambs to the mystery beast.

"It did not seem afraid but it did run off quickly - I am just worried it will come back as it was not concerned at all about my presence.

"I am now out on patrol every night, with a suitable weapon, to stop a repeat of Sunday's killing."

The Welsh Assembly has played down previous reports of animals being attacked by strange predators in the area.

But for the past 30 years Welsh police forces have been filing reports about sightings of cat-like creatures resembling pumas, panthers, ocelots, leopards and lynxes.

The main evidence for the existence of these sharp- clawed, but mysterious stalkers has been the death toll among vulnerable herds of sheep.

Last month NFU Cymru announced its members would be questioned about any sightings through its magazine, Farming Wales.

Local police said the latest incident bore all the signs of a "classic big cat attack" and Assembly wildlife officials have now removed the carcass for further analysis.

"We will know within a week what the experts think, but I had a very interesting conversation with them when they came to collect the lamb," said Mrs Marshall.

"I certainly have never seen anything like this before."

She found the carcass lying in her field just after dawn on Sunday.

"The leg and shoulder had been completely bitten off - but the rest of the flock were still sleeping," she said.

"If it had been a dog then it would have cornered every last one of them, and they would have made a great deal of noise. Also the skin had been torn off and the neck snapped in a single swipe, again classic signs of a big cat attack.

"I now have first-hand experience of what this animal can do and do not want a repeat performance."

Many farmers living in Ceredigion are convinced the Beast of Bont is behind a catalogue of grisly sheep and lamb killings.

Big cat expert, Pat Davies, said she is certain the Beast of Bont is just one of many big cats in the area.

Last year American tracker Tom Brown came to the area to search for clues.

"He said firmly that there are definitely big cats in Mid Wales," said Mrs Davies.