Wrestling With Lions

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The mountain lion should never have been shot. The photo of it looked like it was a tame animal, someone's pet. It is tragic that we as humans are killing every single animal we see on this planet, and within our lifetime we will no longer see lions and elephants who have been roaming wild and not bothering humans at all. Jim Melton, Alexandria, VA

james melton more than 3 years ago

Mountain Lion Seen in Paducah

Gary, you have probably gotten reports of all sorts of mountain lion sightings since your story appeared. I claim a sighting in 1998. I had moved to Paducah from Lexington to set up the University of Kentucky engineering program on the Paducah Community College campus. My office on the second floor looked out over a field between campus and Interstate 24. I happened to be doing something where I looked out the window and saw a full size cougar loping along the field near the retaining fence that parallels the interstate. There was no question what it was, based on the long tail and coloration, and the fence gave a good size perspective. I saw it in the field for about 100 yards. There is a stand of pine trees near my building and after it went behind the trees, I ran outside to see where it might have gone. I never saw any signs of the cat again. I was raised on a farm and as a teenager I hunted and trapped various wildlife. I live near Mayfield Creek in southern McCracken County and see coyotes, foxes, and bobcats and this was none of those. What really surprised me was the location. While I see deer and turkey in the same field next to the interstate, there are no extensive wooded regions that would allow such a cat to move from more rural parts of the county to such a populated area. The local wooded areas adjacent to campus are large enough to support the grazing and cover needs of deer and turkey, but not a big cat. I concluded that it must have been a captive animal that escaped. I never saw anything on the local (Paducah) news about anyone else seeing the cat, but then I don't watch the news every night, and I don't take the local newspaper. The ABC affiliate TV station in Harrisburg, IL across the Ohio RIver reported several cougar sightings a few years later and even showed a photo taken by someone who had gotten a pretty clear picture of one in their back yard, I think with a motion detector. I have not seen or heard of any such sightings in the past 10 years or so.

Anyway, I thought I would add one more to your list of kooky mountain lion sightings that have surely flooded your inbox. I might mention that there are probably more people with captive mountain lions than you might think. My wife was a veterinary pathologist with the UK LIvestock Disease Diagnostic Lab in Lexington for 12 years, and she did necropsies on a couple of mountain lions there, from people who kept them captive. She has performed necropsies on all sorts of wild animals that were captive. People have all kinds of varmints as "pets" and sometimes they do get away.

William E. Murphy more than 3 years ago


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