I'm not lying, it was a lion!

But to date nobody has brought in a mountain lion. Most species will show up sooner or later. If we had a breeding population, youd find sign!, Brown concluded.

Naturalist Ed Kanze, of Bloomingdale, concurs. Wheres the beef?, Kanze asks. Im a skeptic. I dont believe that there is a sustainable population. Even though I once saw a leopard in the wild at a Westchester County park. I found out it was from the Bronx Zoo.

Obviously there is an explanation for everything. But the old question begs for an answer, Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

My old friend and client, Dr. Robert Belfon, is an avid hunter. Over the years he has taken two mountain lions on the White River Apache Reservation in northeastern Arizona. He has standing reservations for a third, but hasn't had a call from his guide in over eight years.

I asked Doc about the likelihood of seeing a lion in the wild and he replied, Youll never see a cat without dogs. You may see sign, tracks, scat, and the like, but they are too elusive.They are primarily nocturnal animals and they are stealthy.

If people are seeing them, then its likely they are familiar with people; probably pets that have been discarded.

It is possible that a hand-fed, human-reared, mountain lion would be more susceptible to being sighted. They may not have a natural fear of humans or may even approach expecting a meal. That could account for some of the sightings.

But what about a body, a carcass, or a roadkill? Again, a pet cat is probably declared. And as a pet it has been provided with food and lost a good deal of its hunting skills and instinct.

What are the chances of a declared, semi-domesticated lion fending for itself in the wild, in the deep snows and bitter cold of winter, chased by a pack of coyotes?

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