He saw the puma and its cubs several times, and has been studying the mystery ever since.
There are now more than 2,000 sightings logged every year across the UK, says Jonathan, who is the Dorset recorder for the Big Cats in Britain Group set up three years ago by Merrily Harpur. Last month, there were several sightings of puma and leopard in the north-west of Dartmoor.
Jonathan, of Bournemouth, is often called in to give expert advice and his research has extended to Devon and to Gloucestershire where sightings have "rocketed" in the last five years – he claims evidence of big cats breeding in the Stroud Valleys.
(below) Jonathan McGowan talks about Dorset Big Cats at the Centre for Fortean Zoology's Weird Weekend 2008