A “lion-like” animal roaming the streets of Milwaukee has caused quite a stir in the last week. The mysterious beast — dubbed the Milwaukee Lion — has been as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster, with only eyewitness reports, and a grainy video, to prove its existence. That hasn’t stopped the internet from doing what it does best, however, and now the Milwaukee lion can be found on Facebook, as well as Twitter, by using the hashtag #MKELion.
It hasn’t been just civilians with shaky cameras that have spotted the Milwaukee Lion. On Sunday evening, a Milwaukee police officer spotted the animal, according to Milwaukee police department’s Lt. Paul Formolo.
“From my understanding, it was a 100 [percent] confirmation that it was a lion-like animal. They know it’s a cat-like animal — could be a young African lion or could be a mature mountain lion/cougar species. Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep visibility on it long. It went into some thick vegetation.”
The lion-like animal was also seen, very briefly, by a Department of Natural Resources warden, says Karen Saprapani, executive director of the Milwaukee Domestic Animal Control.
“His feeling was that it was a juvenile male African lion. He had previously been on a safari and was pretty confident that is what it was. Also, there was a smell of large cat urine, which can be very strong.”
The lion was first spotted on July 20 in a Milwaukee resident’s back yard. The daughter of the unnamed resident’s neighbour was the one who shot the grainy video of the animal that quickly went viral. Since then, dozens of phone calls have been made to the Milwaukee police department reporting sighting of the beast, but it still remains on the run.
Saprapani believes the wild cat may have been someone’s pet at one point — as the local zoo has reported no missing animals — and that the animal may have either escaped, or was let loose on purpose.
“It can be expensive to feed a growing big cat because they require lots of raw meat. It’s possible whomever owned it was overwhelmed by the cost and released it on purpose figuring local authorities would be able to take care of it, or they actually lost it and are afraid to come forward because of all the concern.”
Working with this theory, animal control officers have set non-lethal traps baited with human food in an attempt to catch the Milwaukee Lion. Once caught, the lion-like animal will be brought to an animal sanctuary in the town of Sharon, Wisconsin.
[Image Credit: WISN ABC]