At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

THE LION OF AMERICA

American Lion
America once had its own species of lion (Panthera leo atrox) which roved the United States and extended into Mexico.  However, received wisdom says it became extinct in Pleistocene times.

However, there have been occasional sightings of lions in America and Loren Coleman has suggested that these may not be African lions, but rather a surviving population of the supposedly extinct American species.

Indians told the Dutch settlers on Manhattan Island of the existence of cats with manes.  Reports of lions came in from New York state and Pennsylvania in the 18th Century.  In 1836 a lion was reported in what is now West Virginia.  

In the 20th Century the following reports surfaced:

1917 - two lions, one male, one female (Illinois)
1948 - report from Elkhorn Falls (Indiana)
1959 - Ohio sighting
1960 - sighting in Ontario
1971 - sighting in Ohio
1977 - sighting in Ohio
1978 - report from Florida
1984 - Ohio sighting
1985 - Texas sighting
1992 - Ohio sighting

Striped lions have also been reported:

California - 1868
Mexico - 1940
Pennsylvania - 1986

It was formerly suggetsed that the American lion was actually a tiger, but this opinion is no longer held.  It is harder for lions to keep a low profile than pumas, not alone because of their size, but because of the considerable distances their roar carries.

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