Is that a mountain lion?|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|03/16/04 at 20:02:28|richard_F|xx|0|217.43.51.167|Is that a mountain lion?

MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY , Special to the Local News
02/24/2004

ELK -- Experts will tell you there is no hard evidence of mountain lions living in the state of Pennsylvania. But you get a different opinion from people like Ralph Brumbley, who say they have seen them.

Brumbley was making a short trip to the Fair Hill Market around 8 p.m. on Valentineís Day. He was not far from home, driving south on Route 472, south of Camp Bonsall Road, when he slowed down for a big animal standing in the middle of the road.

About the size of a small deer, but with a 3-foot-long tail, it was clear to Brumbley that he was looking at a mountain lion.

"He was real close to me," Brumbley said. "He jumped up the bank in one bound and went toward Lewisville."

Brumbley was as surprised as the big cat. "I called my wife as soon as I saw it," he said.

A longtime hunter, Brumbley is confident of the identification. He considered going back the next day to check for prints, but the weather was so cold and the ground frozen so hard that there was little chance of finding any evidence.

Evidence is what Penn State Wildlife Resources professor Gary San Julian would like to see. Periodically, he receives reports of mountain lions in the state, but so far he has no firm evidence to support the claims.

"In recent history, I havenít seen any definitive proof," San Julian said.

He has received scat, tracks and a videotape, all of which were purported to be evidence of mountain lions. The scat turned out to be from a dog, the tracks had claws -- making it likely that they were also made by a dog, and to experts looking at the video -- it showed a bobcat.

San Julian would like to find proof of a local mountain lion and he does not eliminate the possibility that they may exist. "There may be one out there, but I havenít seen any proof of it," he said. "Iíd love to see some scat or see some hair."

Brumbley is not alone in having seen a mountain lion in the area. There were published reports of 13 mountain lion sightings in Delaware, mostly near the Pennsylvania state line, in the area from Newark to Hockessin.

Mountain lions have a very large home range they travel within, making the leap into Elk seems possible -- if the Delaware sightings are founded.

Though there is no hard evidence supporting Pennsylvania sightings, they happen regularly. Forester Kerry Gyekis from the western half of the state has devoted a Web page to the Pennsylvania mountain lion.

Gyekis receives frequent reports, but only a few that are what they seem.

"I would say very few of them are wild cougars," he said, noting that when an animal is sighted at a distance or with a camera or scope lens, size becomes hard to judge and a bobcat can be easily mistaken for a mountain lion. Gyekis estimates that 90 to 99 percent of mountain lion sightings are actually bobcats.

Up close, personal sightings are more likely to be accurate, particularly if they note details like the shape of the animalís head and how the tail is carried.

Gyekis stated there are currently reports of a mountain lion in Beaver County that look like they may be accurate. If there are mountain lions in the state, and they start to increase in numbers, there will probably be road kills to provide solid evidence -- though that has not happened yet.

Originally, the mountain lion ranged from New Brunswick into South America.

After having been pushed back by humans, they seem to be expanding their territory once again, with growing numbers being seen in the Midwest.

"They travel to the river valleys where thereís cover," Kerry explained.

"Theyíre actually coming east like the coyote did, though itís not the same situation as the coyote. Habitat is the key. Weíve got more rain and weíve got more game."

With visual reports from reliable people, San Julian does not rule out the possibility that there is something out there -- possibly a pet mountain lion that someone has turned loose. He noted that when British laws forbade the keeping of big cats, there were owners who turned them free -- a similar thing may have happened here.

Gyekis also cites a case in Ohio where a mountain lion was shot after threatening a farmer, and it was found to be without claws, indicating it had been someoneís pet at one time.

Elk Township Supervisor Palmer Durborrow is taking the sighting seriously and wants residents to be aware of the possibility that there is a mountain lion in the area. "For us, itís kind of a public safety thing," he said.

San Julianís advice to anyone who spots a mountain lion is to be cautious.

"I would just not go near one. I wouldnít run. Iíd try to make myself look as big as possible," he said.

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|| Re: Is that a mountain lion?|Richard_F|richard@cfz.org.uk|03/16/04 at 20:08:47|richard_F|xx|0|217.43.51.167|Daily Local News,
http://www.dailylocal.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=11014617&BRD=1671&PAG=461&dep
t_id=17782&rfi=6
Is that a mountain lion?
By MARCELLA PEYRE-FERRY , Special to the Local News  02/24/2004

ELK, PA -- Experts will tell you there is no hard evidence of mountain lions
living in the state of Pennsylvania. But you get a different opinion from
people like Ralph Brumbley, who say they have seen them.

Brumbley was making a short trip to the Fair Hill Market around 8 p.m. on
Valentine's Day. He was not far from home, driving south on Route 472, south
of Camp Bonsall Road, when he slowed down for a big animal standing in the
middle of the road.

About the size of a small deer, but with a 3-foot-long tail, it was clear to
Brumbley that he was looking at a mountain lion.

"He was real close to me," Brumbley said. "He jumped up the bank in one
bound and went toward Lewisville."

Brumbley was as surprised as the big cat. "I called my wife as soon as I saw
it," he said.

A longtime hunter, Brumbley is confident of the identification. He
considered going back the next day to check for prints, but the weather was
so cold and the ground frozen so hard that there was little chance of
finding any evidence.

Evidence is what Penn State Wildlife Resources professor Gary San Julian
would like to see. Periodically, he receives reports of mountain lions in
the state, but so far he has no firm evidence to support the claims.

"In recent history, I haven't seen any definitive proof," San Julian said.

He has received scat, tracks and a videotape, all of which were purported to
be evidence of mountain lions. The scat turned out to be from a dog, the
tracks had claws -- making it likely that they were also made by a dog, and
to experts looking at the video -- it showed a bobcat.

San Julian would like to find proof of a local mountain lion and he does not
eliminate the possibility that they may exist. "There may be one out there,
but I haven't seen any proof of it," he said. "I'd love to see some scat or
see some hair."

Brumbley is not alone in having seen a mountain lion in the area. There were
published reports of 13 mountain lion sightings in Delaware, mostly near the
Pennsylvania state line, in the area from Newark to Hockessin.

Mountain lions have a very large home range they travel within, making the
leap into Elk seems possible -- if the Delaware sightings are founded.

Though there is no hard evidence supporting Pennsylvania sightings, they
happen regularly. Forester Kerry Gyekis from the western half of the state
has devoted a Web page to the Pennsylvania mountain lion.

Gyekis receives frequent reports, but only a few that are what they seem.

"I would say very few of them are wild cougars," he said, noting that when
an animal is sighted at a distance or with a camera or scope lens, size
becomes hard to judge and a bobcat can be easily mistaken for a mountain
lion. Gyekis estimates that 90 to 99 percent of mountain lion sightings are
actually bobcats.

Up close, personal sightings are more likely to be accurate, particularly if
they note details like the shape of the animal's head and how the tail is
carried.

Gyekis stated there are currently reports of a mountain lion in Beaver
County that look like they may be accurate. If there are mountain lions in
the state, and they start to increase in numbers, there will probably be
road kills to provide solid evidence -- though that has not happened yet.

Originally, the mountain lion ranged from New Brunswick into South America.

After having been pushed back by humans, they seem to be expanding their
territory once again, with growing numbers being seen in the Midwest.

"They travel to the river valleys where there's cover," Kerry explained.

"They're actually coming east like the coyote did, though it's not the same
situation as the coyote. Habitat is the key. We've got more rain and we've
got more game."

With visual reports from reliable people, San Julian does not rule out the
possibility that there is something out there -- possibly a pet mountain
lion that someone has turned loose. He noted that when British laws forbade
the keeping of big cats, there were owners who turned them free -- a similar
thing may have happened here.

Gyekis also cites a case in Ohio where a mountain lion was shot after
threatening a farmer, and it was found to be without claws, indicating it
had been someone's pet at one time.

Elk Township Supervisor Palmer Durborrow is taking the sighting seriously
and wants residents to be aware of the possibility that there is a mountain
lion in the area. "For us, it's kind of a public safety thing," he said.

San Julian's advice to anyone who spots a mountain lion is to be cautious.

"I would just not go near one. I wouldn't run. I'd try to make myself look
as big as possible," he said.

---------------------

Reader Opinions

Name: Joan Hale
Date: Feb, 24 2004
A couple of years ago I saw a large cat run in front of my truck on
Telegraph Road. It was early in the morning so the sun was just up and it
must have been spooked as it was running for all it was worth. Also, as a
child I saw a mountain lion in potter county near our cabin. I have seen
numerous bobcat and surely know the difference. I'm not saying that some of
the large cats out there aren't from someone's pet, but I'm also sure that
there are wild ones as well. I'm not sure why the Game Commision will not
admit to the cats, as they have had problems up state with livestock kills
that were likely the result of a big cat. When the coyote first started to
come back I believe they didn't think they were here either, now they are in
every county of the state. My brother-in-law was biking a trail near Noxen,
Pa, they were having a drought a few years ago, and he saw a mountain lion
cross the trail about 70 yards in front of him. As he got to where it
crossed the trail it was on a fallen tree trunk just looking up the bank at
him. He also knows the difference between a bobcat and a mountain lion, as
he sees bobcats all the time.

Name: Michael J. Dunn
Date: Feb, 24 2004
I have pictures of a large cat that I took in Kardon Park in Downingtown..I
took them this past summer..I believe there is a large cat roaming thru the
area..
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