Police are warning people to be on their guard after receiving several reports and photographs of a big cat in hills above a mid Wales village.
Dyfed-Powys Police said seven different people had reported seeing a large cat-like animal in recent weeks in the Talybont area, near Aberystwyth.
Pc Pat Jalloal of Dyfed-Powys Police in Aberystwyth said the pictures of the big cat were inconclusive.
But he said there had been a “huge jump” in reported sightings.
In Wales, big cat sightings are investigated by the Welsh Assembly Government, in the form of the wildlife management unit based at Aberystwyth.
“From the police’s point of view, we have had a huge jump in reported cases in the past few weeks and we want people in the area to be aware of this,” said Pc Jalloal.
“Images received by the police look very similar to a big cat so we are asking people to stay vigilant.”
PC Jalloal also warned people not to hunt and shoot the animal.
In March, a radio producer said his own research into sightings of big cats in the Welsh countryside appeared to be backed up by findings from the British Big Cat Society (BBCS).
Wales is fourth on the list of big cat “hotspots” in the society’s UK survey.
BBC programme maker Aled Jones collated more than 100 sightings in north and mid Wales over an 18-month period.
The BBCS study said it found sightings increasing across the UK.
Almost 60% of sightings were of black cats, and 32% sandy
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