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.