In autumn 2020, we started Puma Watch North Wales to raise awareness of big cat sightings in the local area. Since then, the project has gone from strength to strength and we now receive reports almost daily from the entire United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, we can't keep up with the number of reports received, and currently have a backlog of over 100 sightings which we need to add to our database and map and share with the wider public. Sadly, this means the majority of reports don't get published, despite people taking the time to share them with us.
Run on a voluntary basis, we've never made a profit from this project. The small amount of money raised from merchandise sales and 'Google Adsense' adverts comes to under £30/month and is always used to fund giveaways of stickers and badges etc to continue to raise awareness. We cover the hosting costs from our own pocket and will continue to do so.
We've previously refused to accept donations from the public but now feel this is the only way for Puma Watch to continue to grow.
- Pay a web developer to streamline our reporting system, so we can continue to share reports in a timely manner without a backlog building up. At present, everything is done manually, which takes us around 30 minutes for each sighting to create a blog post with images and add the information to our map and database. This means our current backlog would take over 60 hours of work to process, all the while the submissions will keep coming in. We'd still manually approve or decline submissions before they go public to avoid pranks.
- Fund the distribution of stickers and leaflets to those who submit sighting reports and other interested parties. Our 'big cat spotted in this area, please report any sightings' warning stickers are an incredibly useful tool and placing them in areas where big cats have recently been spotted helps us keep track of these animals by encouraging members of the public to report what they have seen.
- Fund an advertising campaign in areas of interest. Using digital advertisement boards at tourism hotspots like Snowdonia car parks and on public transport. This helps raise awareness among visitors to the area and ensures they know how to report any sightings. We'll support the North Wales community by advertising with local authorities and community groups where possible rather than buying commercial advertising space. For example, by sponsoring grassroots sports clubs, roundabouts or tourist board space.