ACCLAIMED BBC naturalist Iolo Williams is refusing to rule out the possibility that big cats could be living and breeding in the more remote wooded areas of north Pembrokeshire and south Ceredigion.

Iolo, who will be broadcasting live from the Teifi Marshes, near Cilgerran, for the popular BBC-1 programme Autumnwatch at 8pm tomorrow night (Tuesday), admitted the chances of the BBC cameras unexpectedly capturing the image a large, feline predator were slim.

“But just because I’ve never actually clapped eyes on one living in the wild doesn’t mean to say that they are definitely not around,” he told the Tivy-Side this morning.

“Big cats are by nature incredibly shy and elusive and will go out of their way to remain concealed from sight.

“Having said that, over the years I must have tramped tens of thousands of miles across all parts of Wales and in all that time I’ve never come across any evidence that these things are actually out there.

“If there was indeed a population of big cats living and breeding in our countryside you’d have thought we’d find far more sheep carcases lying about – and obvious prey such as pheasants would be massacred in their hundreds.”

Iolo was commenting on sporadic reports that big cats have been seen in various parts of west Wales ahead of tomorrow night’s live programme he will co-host with Gillian Burke.

South Wales Argus:

The last three weeks have seen the crew undertake pre-filming all around the Welsh Wildlife Reserve, during which Iolo has spent time in a canoe on the River Teifi on the lookout for kingfisher, mullet, and salmon.

The live show will bring light to the secret lives of our local wildlife such as European badgers, roe deer, and perhaps even the elusive otter.

“The Teifi Marshes are one of my favourite places,” said Iolo. “The variety of habitat here is quite simply stunning.”