Woman claims to see Mountain Lion

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Betty Hewett in Viola has seen some pretty amazing sights in her backyard lately.

Hewett has been keeping tabs on a large cat that has been stalking about her backyard.

When she first saw the cat she said, "I thought I might have been hallucinating. I didn't really know what it was."

Hewett took this picture of a large cat that was lounging about her backyard. She said she really didn't know what it was, but that it was big enough to be a Mountain Lion. Photo by Betty Hewett

Though Hewett lives in a wooded area and has deer and other wildlife show up in her backyard, she has never seen this Mountain Lion-like creature. She said it has shown up in her backyard about three times since July 31. Her last sighting was Aug. 7.

Hewett's neighbor, Roger Garner, has seen the cat, too. Garner said his neighbor's cattle have been attacked by the beast. "Last fall, I saw a big cat bury its claws into a steer's back," Garner said. He also said he's seen several cattle with big claw and bite marks.

"That was a Mountain Lion," Garner said. "That's the only thing it could be."

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Web site (www.agfc.com), "While it is possible that occasional sightings of free-ranging Mountain Lions may occur in Arkansas there is no evidence that there has been a reproducing population of this species in the state since the early 1900s. Individual Mountain Lions are most likely escaped or released pets though it is possible, but unlikely, that individuals could disperse to Arkansas from their nearest existing population in southern Texas."

Although the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is not asking people to report Mountain Lion sightings, residents that have lost livestock to what they believe to be a Mountain Lion and have evidence can contact the closest Commission regional office.

According to the Commission's Web site, "Mountain Lions range from 60 inches long from nose to tip of tail with 21 inch tails to nearly nine feet, of which three feet are tail. Body weights range from 80 pounds to nearly 225 pounds."

To contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fulton County offices in Mammoth Spring call 625-7521.

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  • -- Posted by mhewitt on Fri, Aug 15, 2008, at 1:39 PM
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